By Ronnie Nathanielsz
It seems, at least on the surface, that strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza’s decision to leave pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao in the middle of his training camp in Baguio City isn’t hurting Pacquiao’s preparation for his showdown with undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 9.
In fact it was only after Ariza left last Saturday that Pacquiao decided to go through the plyometrics training routine which Ariza had wanted him to do since he first went up to Baguio.
Childhood friend Buboy Fernandez and assistant trainer Nonoy Neri handled the plyometrics training at the suggestion of Pacquiao himself since he had bought the necessary material for flyweight contender Rodel Mayol who is also training with him in Baguio City.
Plyometrics has been described as a type of exercises training designed to produce fast, powerful movements and enables a boxer to be explosive and punch harder.
Pacquiao reportedly realized that his failure to do his plyometrics training was one of the reasons for his sluggish performance in his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Fernandez downplayed the absence of Ariza although he conceded that the strength and conditioning coach, who first teamed up with trainer Freddie Roach some two weeks before Pacquiao destroyed David Diaz to win the WBC lightweight title with a 9th round TKO, was a help.
However, he said Pacquiao knows what he needs to do to get in shape and he began his jogging and other exercises some two weeks before arriving in Baguio and Roach himself was surprised at how good Manny looked.
Fernandez, Neri and physical conditioning trainer and former amateur boxer Marvin Somodio who has impressed Roach who wants to take him to work at the Wild Card Gym have worked together to cover for anything that may have been lost by Ariza’s leaving camp although the Filipino trainers made it clear, nothing is lost with the absence of Ariza.
Pacquiao himself told Rene Casibang of ABS-CBN that he would use Ariza when he trains in Los Angeles at the Wild Card Gym and that he didn’t fire Ariza contrary to some speculation.
Pacquiao did not go jogging in the morning because he stayed up past midnight to welcome his wife Jinkee after which they watched a movie titled “The Book of John.”
However, he was in the gym on time and worked the punch-mitts with Roach, much of the time concentrating on how to avoid the head-butts which Bradley is supposedly known for.
Pacquiao’s sparring partner, Russian light welterweight Ruslan Providknov (21-1, 14 KO’s) arrived in Baguio and will begin sparring with Pacquiao on Saturday.