By Ronnie Nathanielsz
STRENGTH and conditioning coach Alex Ariza believes Manny Pacquiao will be the same fighter that demolished the likes of Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto when he defends his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against undefeated Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on June 9.
Ariza told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he had spoken to Pacquiao after his controversial win in his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez and during his recent visit to Los Angeles for the kickoff of his coming fight’s two-city media tour.
There were concerns over Pacquiao’s showing against Marquez where several distractions, including personal problems took its toll on the eight-division world champion, who looked anything but the dominating Fighter of the Decade.
However, a new-found commitment to studying the Bible and a break from the old habits of late nights, gambling and other activities and spending much more time with wife Jinkee and their four children have proved to be rejuvenating for Pacquiao.
“We talked about the training and what we are going to do and any changes we are going to try to make,” said Ariza. “Pacquiao was receptive after the Marquez fight and again before this fight. He said he wants to start training camp a little earlier and he wants to focus on building his body and getting his power and speed again.”
The strength guru, who has been alongside celebrated trainer Freddie Roach prior to Pacquiao’s ninth-round annihilation of then lightweight champion David Diaz, said Pacquiao is ready to focus again.