by Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao will have to prepare for his WBO International welterweight title against Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in Macau on November 24 without his former strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that Fortune “definitely wants to come but he’s not coming because he’s having a real visa problem.”
Fortune is the holder of an Australian passport.
Arum said “right it looks like he won’t come, not because he doesn’t want to come or people don’t want him to come because Freddie Roach wants him to come, its just the problem of adjusting his visa which is a little complicated.”
However, Arum said he couldn’t get into the details saying “just trust me.”
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told us yesterday that Fortune had to attend to some business concerns and commitments because he owns a gym in Los Angeles and it isn’t easy to leave for several weeks but he expected Fortune to join the Pacquiao training camp the moment he attends to his schedule.
Apparently, that is not the case and as Arum pointed out Pacquiao will have to manage without his former strength and conditioning coach who was recalled to replace Alex Ariza who had been fired by Roach for apparently creating dissension within the training camp.
Arum also said the concerns about Pacquiao getting good sparring partners would be solved when Roach arrives in GenSan because he is bringing in some solid sparring partners.
Meantime, 2012 “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia told the Standard that Rios is “coming on great” and has been doing very well in sparring” at the Oxnard Gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Garcia said he is bringing in “ two guys who are all southpaws.” He identified the sparring partners as light welterweights Kareem Martinez who has a record of 12-1 with 6 knockouts and Giovanni Santillan who is undefeated with 10 wins including 6 knockouts.
At the same time Garcia said strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza’s work was “beautiful, very very good. He’s doing a great job and works the guys (Rios and Mike Garcia) very hard.” .