Manny Pacquiao is aiming to make long-time trainer Freddie Roach smile by the time they reunite at the Wild Card Boxing Club in the second week of March to kick off training camp proper for the May 2 clash with Floyd Mayweather.
This week in General Santos City, Pacquiao showed up for another round of training sessions.
Training assistants Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri and Roger Fernandez (Buboy’s younger brother) have already reported for duty to initiate the pre-conditioning phase of the eight-week training.
Roach won’t be available for Pacquiao until March 9 or 10 since he is scheduled to work the corner of flyweight Zou Shiming, the Chinese Olympic legend who fights for the world title on March 7 at The Venetian in Macau.
With Roach busy with Shiming, tasked to handle the pre-training chores is Fernandez, who will be ably assisted by Neri.
It won’t be until March 7 or 8 that Pacquiao will travel to Los Angeles to begin setting up camp although he could still change his mind and decide to go there much earlier.
Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz said that Justin Fortune, the Australian conditioning coach, could fill in for Roach for a few days.
“Justin can handle the conditioning while Freddie’s with Shiming,” said Koncz.
Fortune made a comeback to Team Pacquiao in early-2013 after Roach broke up with Alex Ariza after an ugly spat that spilled over when they bumped into each other.
Ariza, originally from Colombia, had found a new employer in Rios and he and Roach got into a scuffle in the gym days before Pacquiao beat Rios.
Ariza, interestingly, is now with Mayweather.
Last Saturday, hours after Mayweather formally announced that he is fighting Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 36-year-old Pacquiao went to the gym that he owns and worked out a sweat.