On his rest day, Pacquiao hits gym to perfect a routine for bout vs Ugas
Manny Pacquiao stretched, bounced and shadow boxed on Friday at Wild Card Gym with 40-odd people in attendance—all of whom tested negative for the coronavirus before entering the training area.
An hour later, all cameras were asked to be turned off as he and Freddie Roach worked on mitts. They appeared to be polishing a particular sequence, something that involves throwing combinations, sliding sideways and pulling off a big haul-off-and-smack in the end.
The master and student—who fought countless wars together atop the ring for decades now—went over the routine for eight full rounds. Often, Pacquiao would apologize every time an errant punch landed on Roach’s cushioned chest.
And to think the Filipino ring icon wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place.
“It’s supposed to be my off day; I just dropped by,” said the 42-year-old global superstar. “So I decided it’s just a light workout for today.”
You can imagine what a regular training day looks like.
And there’s reason why Pacquiao is pulling out all the stops for an opponent very few people think can pull off an upset.
“He (Yordenis Ugas) is an Olympian. He won bronze. He would be hard in training right now,” said Pacquiao of his Cuban opponent for the World Boxing Association welterweight super title on Aug. 21 in Las Vegas.
He said he was able to watch Ugas’ tape: “I just glimpsed and read [his style] right away.”
Pacquiao was obviously being generous about Ugas’ rating as an opponent and his chances of winning given his massive advantage in stature and resumè.
Roach was a bit more direct in sizing up the Cuban.
“For this opponent (Ugas) I guess what Manny does naturally is made for this guy,” said the Hall of Fame trainer. “He’s a little bit slow. And anybody who slow-foots on Manny is in trouble.”
There’s only one thing that concerns him, though.
“He (Ugas) likes to go for the home run,” said Roach. “And he has this big right overhand.”But Pacquiao looks all set for the bout.
“He’s ready, he can fight tomorrow,” said his strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune. “It’s, uh, unfortunate for Ugas … When he have to tell [Pacquiao] to work harder, that’s where he should quit. But the boys are telling him to slow down.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao won’t be at ringside when one of his wards, John Riel Casimero, stakes his World Boxing Organization bantamweight title against Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday.
“We can’t take chances, there are too many people out there,” said another coach Marvin Samodio referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Team Pacquiao has implemented very stringent health measures in order to keep things safe for the eight-division champion.
A medical crew is set up next door by the gym. Its task is to take daily COVID-19 tests for everyone around Pacquiao and those who step into the training room to watch the boxer at work. The crew also offers vaccines to anyone who needs it.