The Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse World Boxing Association welterweight title fight has been moved. And so was the training schedule, particularly of the Filipino eight-division champion.
Originally set to start on the third week of April to coincide with the previous June 24 fight date, Pacquiao, according to one of his trainers, will instead begin his preparations first week of May.
“Na-move ang laban ng 12 days, so ipagpaliban din namin ang simula along with now chief trainer Buboy Fernandez and brother Roger “Haplas” Fernandez, will oversee the former World Boxing Organization 147-pound belt owner’s build up program, told The Manila Times in a long distance telephone interview Thursday from Davao City.
The Fernandezes and Neri were left to handle preparations in lieu of American Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, who, for the past 17 years had been credited for Pacquiao’s rise from obscurity to one of the greatest fighters in his era, but was removed from that role at least for this fight.
“Kung susundin natin ang original schedule na third week of April, masyadong matagal at baka mag-peak si Manny nang napakaaga,” Neri reasoned out.
“We’re thinking of a 10-week preparedness program, which we thought would be enough considering na kulang one year nabakante si Manny sa boksing pagkatapos ng last fight n’ya,” Neri explained in reference to Pacquiao’s losing his title to Australian Jeff Horn July 2017 in Brisbane.
Neri said the training team sees no problem in Pacman’s physical condition, which he added hasn’t changed since that controversial loss majority of media men who covered the bout thought he won.
“Super-active naman si Manny sa paglalaro ng basketball. “When in Gensan (hometown General Santos City) he plays basketball from two to three hours nightly na walang palitan,” malakas pa rin talaga ang katawan. Parang hindi 39 years old,” he observed.
“Kailangan maibalik sa kanya kung ano ang atmosphere sa boksing. One-year siyang di nakaka-akyat ng ring. One-year di nakakapag-suot ng glab. This is our initial concern. Pag na-feel n’ya na uli itong mga ito, tuloy-tuloy na,” he related.
“No, I’m not saying na easy-easy lang ang preparasyon. Dapat serious din. Hindi nga masyadong kilala itong si Matthysse, pero maganda din ang record, “ he said referring to the Argentine’s 44-fight, 39-wins record (36 KOs) and four losses. “Malakas ito at may kamay.”
Matthysse, 35, born in Trelew, Argentina, stopped Thai Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBO 147-pound plum last January at the Forum in Los Angeles.
He is known as “La Maquina’ for his aggressive, pressure non-stop, formidable punching style of fighting who was also the interim super-lightweight titleholder from 2012 or 2013.
“Kaya ‘yan. Although may kalakasan, hindi pa siya nakakatapat ng boksingerong de kalibre ng bata natin. Basta tama lang ang preparasyon, tingin ko di tayo tatalunin,” Neri projected.
“As has been reported, kapag nanalo, may mas magaganda pang labang naghihintay kay Manny. Alam niya ito kaya di siya papayag na matalo at mabigo ang pagbabalik niya sa ring,” he said.