by Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz insists that former strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune is still very much a part of Team Pacquiao but that Fortune’s arrival last Sunday was delayed because of Fortune’s schedules and business commitments.
Koncz spoke to BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard following reports that the contract to bring back Fortune who parted ways with trainer Freddie Roach some years ago but was re-joining the Pacquiao training camp had been cancelled, and that’s why the strength and conditioning coach hadn’t shown up at Pacquiao’s training camp in General Santos City as expected.
Koncz said “we are still working with Justin. Manny spoke to Justin and Freddie and Justin also spoke and there was no problem with Fortune’s contract.”
He claimed the reason for the delay was that Fortune owns his own gym in Los Angeles and has commitments which meant he had to arrange his schedule and make sure his gym operations continue during his seven week absence.
Koncz said Fortune’s ticket was already purchased and they would only have to change the date to fit into Fortune’s departure schedule from Los Angeles.
The adviser said that in the meantime assistant trainer Nonoy Neri was “doing well” handling the plyometrics training of Pacquiao.
At the same time Koncz said Roach is scheduled to arrive on Thursday reportedly with two sparring partners, one of whom he identified as Liam Vaughn, the 23 year old light middleweight from Britain who has a record of 8-1 with 2 knockouts but hasn’t fought any outstanding opponent.
Koncz revealed that Sean Gibbons “is looking for a back-up” sparring partner.