April 21, 2011, 5:39pm
Manny Pacquiao works the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach, who accidentally
gets hit during the Filipino’s open workout Wednesday at the Wild Card
Boxing Club in Los Angeles. (AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When trainer Freddie Roach says Manny Pacquiao is having his best training
camp, Shane Mosley had better pay attention. Pacquiao is in the final stages of preparation in Hollywood for
his bout with Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on May 7, and the Filipino congressman hasn't been so
singularly focused on boxing for quite a while. “He hasn't lost a step. He's working at a higher pace than ever,”
Roach said Wednesday in his Wild Card Gym. “He's not in the same condition as the last fight. He's in better condition
than I've ever seen. He isn't going to get caught underestimating anybody.” Roach fretted about Pacquiao's focus and
fitness throughout a rocky camp heading into last fall's win over Antonio Margarito, calling it the worst training session
of their careers. Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) was newly elected to office, which added another responsibility to the usual pandemonium swirling around the Philippines' most famous man. This time around, Roach and strength-and-conditioning
coach Alex Ariza have been downright floored by the eight-division champion's determination to
knock out Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), who has never been stopped.
“It's the complete opposite side of the spectrum this time,” said Ariza, who's in charge of Pacquiao's fitness. “I've never seen Manny more motivated. I thought (the camp before Pacquiao's victory over Miguel) Cotto was the perfect blueprint for a training camp, but this has surpassed it.”
On their first day of workouts, Pacquiao did his running in the mountains, skipping the usual warm-up days on the flats in Baguio, his Filipino base.
He spent just three weeks training amid the innumerable distractions back home before starting his more monastic five-week
session in Hollywood, reversing the schedule of last fall's camp. Pacquiao already is solidly near the bout's 67-kilogram
(147-pound) limit, and his sparring sessions already have exceeded 12 rounds, with Roach marveling at Pacquiao's sharpness and speed. “When you take five or six months off like that, you get re-motivated,” Ariza said. “He found something in his DNA that motivated him again to get going. He had so much of the political stuff wearing him down last time that he didn't have it in the ring. That's not going to be a problem now.” In yet another sign of his commitment, Pacquiao showed up to Wednesday's interview session just 15 minutes late – which qualifies as extremely early in Manny's wild world.
Pacquiao doesn't acknowledge any special focus on this fight, but the congressman has been juggling more balls than most people could even carry for a long time now. He acknowledges needing an adjustment period to his legislative duties, which are getting easier to manage. “I learned to rely on certain people to do my job,” Pacquiao said. “It's different this time (around). I've been training, and I've set aside all work. ... I never distract myself. I never think I was distracted. I was focused on the fight, focused on the training.”