By Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza believes that his decision to delay his departure for the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and to continue training in his hometown of General Santos City with Filipino trainer Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez is not bad.
Ariza who was in the Philippines for seventeen days said “I am a firm believer in a shorter more intense camp than a long camp. I think it’s a good thing that he can work at his own pace and develop as you go and then when you get closer to the fight you pick up the intensity for a shorter amount of time.”
He said Pacquiao “is supposed to train at one speed at a hundred percent but over a long period its a little bit too much” even as he indicated he sees “no problem” in his training in his hometown for the time being.
Ariza told the Manila Standard that when Pacquiao eventually gets to Los Angeles, “the plan is for me to work with him. Hopefully he recognizes that he has to change some things” in his physical conditioning.”
He conceded that Juan Manuel Marquez, whom Pacquiao will face for the fourth time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, has looked good after getting “a strength and conditioning coach with a science background and Manny will the most competitive fight.”
Ariza said Marquez’ coach Angel Heredia “is very smart and whatever mistakes he made with Marquez the last time I don’t think he’ll make it this time.”
He said Heredia has helped Marquez “get where he is today at his age (39).”
Ariza insisted that being older Pacquiao and Marquez “can’t learn very much more stylistic-wise” emphasizing “conditioning, strength and executing gameplan after getting in shape.”
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Friday to try and convince Pacquiao to leave for Los Angeles over the weekend so he could begin training at the Wild Card and also keep several commitments for photo shoots, a face-off with Marquez with HBO commentator Max Kellerman and other promotional activities while also striving to salvage a major sponsorship deal.