By Chris Robinson
Shortly after Juan Manuel Marquez made his grand arrival to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon, I caught up the with the Mexico City stalwart’s strength and conditioning coach Angel Hernandez, formerly known as Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia.
Marquez is getting ready for his fourth encounter with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night and this contest serves as the second time that he will be working with Hernandez ahead of a meeting with Pacquiao.
Last November, Marquez put forth a tremendous effort vs. Pacquiao, swaying many into believing he had done enough to warrant the victory despite ultimately dropping a majority-decision to his Filipino counterpart.
Hernandez says that this specific training camp was one of the more cherished in his entire career as he and Team Marquez readied for another crucial meeting with Pacquiao.
“It was one of the greatest camps I had so far in boxing,” Hernandez would state. “We trained very hard for this fight. It was a longer preparation and we feel pretty comfortable. We worked a lot on speed and dynamics, so he’s ready to go.”
Hernandez’s checkered past came into light during the lead up of Marquez’s third fight with Pacquiao last year, as his history of providing several American track and field athletes with performance-enhancing drugs was revealed. Despite the controversy, Hernandez was ultimately able to help mold the then 39-year old Marquez into a true physical specimen while also scoffing at claims that he was up to anything illegal behind the scenes.
This time around, Hernandez insists he was able to spend even more time with Marquez as the fight crept closer and expects and even more impressive performance.
“If we compare last year, it was a camp where he didn’t do a lot of exercises,” said Hernandez. “I couldn’t spend time teaching him, therefore I had to be limited. Today I was able to perform more exercises, more dynamics, right to the point. So, he’ll be sharp.”
Having a history working with a variety of world-class athletes, Hernandez was asked what it is that makes Marquez so special compared to his past clients.
“He’s a very talented individual obviously,” Hernandez stated. “Nacho Beristain has done a tremendous job with his technique. He’s a guy who will give you 300% in training. He takes care of his body, he rests well, he’s a very disciplined guy.”
As evidenced on HBO’s 24/7 series, much of the focus of Marquez’s camp appears to be on improving his speed and power in order to keep up with the always-dangerous Pacquiao.
It’s simple logic, if you ask Hernandez.
“You have to understand, that whenever you are fighting power and speed, you’ve got to use power and speed,” he stated. “In other words, we’ve got to show up with the best weapons, because obviously Pacquiao is a tremendous fighter. He’s quick, he’s fast, you just never know with this guy.”