By NICK GIONGCO
LOS ANGELES – Cutting corners during training has never been Manny Pacquiao’s cup of tea.
Australian strength coach Justin Fortune says that Pacquiao, who battles Keith Thurman on July 20 in Las Vegas, is just “training smart” despite the more than usual breaks that he’s had.
“He’s listening to his body. Manny is not lazy at all. Ever. You cannot say that about Pacquiao,” said Fortune when asked about Pacquiao’s decision to rest early last week and forego a morning running session two days later.
“Some days you wake up and you are physically tired. That’s when you need to listen to your body. The body tells you to rest and that’s exactly what you have to do. The next day you’ll be stronger and faster.”
Despite the days off that Pacquiao has taken, his training team still ended up putting the cuffs on him.
Hall of Fame strategist Freddie Roach is likewise on the same page.
“(The thing that we are trying to avoid is) Overtraining. He tends to do that. He does overtrain at times. He likes to work so much and we actually let him, but at this age, we’re trying to let him take days off,” said the 59-year-old former fighter.
Interim world bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero, who is also training for a title defense set in the Philippines, attests to Pacquiao’s staying power.
“Grabe si sir Manny. Daig pa kami na mas bata pa sa kanya (Sir Manny is really something else. We young fighters just couldn’t keep up with him),” he said after being regaled by the Filipino legend’s intense training session at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
Casimero is a part of a group of runners who scale Griffith Park thrice a week but he reveals that Pacquiao is always the first to reach the top.
“Pambihira ang stamina at endurance niya kahit na 40 years old (His stamina and endurance are extraordinary even at 40),” he added.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao will train and spar for the last time in Hollywood on Monday just before he travels to Sin City in the afternoon.
The gym session won’t be as agonizing and lengthy compared to his previous since Roach has only penciled a four-rounder with one sparmate.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pacquiao and Thurman will have their grand arrivals followed by a press conference on Wednesday and Friday’s official weighin.