By Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao’s hand-speed and footwork are better than ever and Filipino assistant trainer “Buboy” Fernandez has contributed substantially to the change according to strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Ariza said that Pacquiao sparred four rounds with longtime sparring partner Raymund Beltran and another four rounds with a tough Russian.
Ariza said “it’s some of the best sparring I’ve seen from Manny and its not just the sparring but the movements that he has and I think his hands and his footwork is almost at a different level that I’ve seen in a long time and the combination of having ‘Buboy’ Fernandez now is very good at making Manny throw lots of punches, volume and speed.”
On sparring Pacquiao does “at least a couple of rounds to focus on speed and volume punching and it has worked wonders.”
Ariza said he suggested to Pacquiao that they do the same thing Tuesday that they did last Saturday with the sparring and Fernandez handling the speed and volume punching and Manny said “yeah, I f eel better when I do it like that.”
He said “it gets Manny tired because it’s a different pace with speed and volume punching and it was some of the best footwork and pressure that I’ve seen from Manny in a long time. Not just pressure coming forward but pressure and throwing punches at the same time.”
Ariza said that on Wednesday (LA Time) Pacquiao would “start some isometric exercises and on Friday we go to the track and I believe Manny likes the different changes and I think he really likes the change in pace having Buboy come in and work on speed and volume punches.”
The strength and conditioning coach who teamed up with celebrated trainer Freddie Roach some two weeks before Pacquiao demplished WBC featherweight champion David Diaz in nine rounds said he had the greatest respect for Roach who is concentrating on the game-plan for the fourth encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8 and working on motivating Pacquiao and inspiring him to erase the controversy that surrounded his last split decision win over Marquez by knocking him out.