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Pacquiao ready to claim a champ's belt again

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA, Sports Editor & Columnist


FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao punishes the heavy bag after a grueling 12 rounds of sparring at the Pacman Wildcard Gym in General Santos City Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — All the bases have been covered.


This,  Filipino boxing pride Manny Paquiao assured as he prepares himself to put the curtains down on his General Santos training camp starting Monday, exactly a week before departing to Kuala Lumpur for his World Boxing Association welterweight title date with champion Lucas Matthysse.   


The Filipino fighting senator is seeking to retake  his place in the elite list of world champions when he collides heads on with Matthysse for the Argentine’s 147-pound belt on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in that Malaysian capital.        


“After spending the past two-and-a-half months in the camp, running the road, sparring and working the mitts, heavy bag, speed ball, etc., I believe we’ve covered everything there is to cover to prepare for this coming fight,” Pacquiao said after completing another rigid grind on Saturday at the Pacman Wild Card Gym here.


To chief trainer Buboy Fernandez’s projection, his ward and boyhood pal is already 95 percent prepared to fight and can, in fact, lace his fighting gloves anytime this week.


“Ang problema lang ay ang pigilang magkaroon si Manny ng sakit like ubo, sipon at lagnat. Otherwise, what we tried to  achieve when we opened the camp has all been achieved,” Buboy said.      


“Yeah, I feel I’m ready to again climb the ring after a year’s absence following my last fight a year ago,” the Pamabansang Kamao declared after working a heavy 12-round sparring with three dancing partners.  


Assigned the task of getting Pacquiao competitive form were Australian world-ranked lightweight George Kambosos Jr., Philippine junior welterweight champ Jerich Chavez and middleweight Arnel Tinampay.


The eight-division champion last fought July 2017 in Brisbane, Australia where he was dethroned of his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt  by former public school teacher Jeff Horn via a controversial unanimous decision.     


This week’s training schedule starts Monday with very light gym activities highlighted by a 10-round job with the mitts with Buboy.


A slightly heavier regimen awaits Pacquiao on Tuesday when he resumes sparring with his three mates for 10 rounds, two rounds less than the 12 he worked Saturday.


What could be the last of his heavy load comes Wednesday when he tries to  complete a hard 10-set plyometric exercise program which, according to strength and conditioning guru Justin Fortune, is a  45-minute energy-sapping procedure.


“Everything from there would be relatively easy,” Justin assured. “Yeah, there’s  still eight-round and probably six-round skirmishes on Thursday and Saturday but those are only routine.”


Pacquiao and his team that will include his staff, his and wife Jinkee’s families, congressional allies, friends and supporters leaveMonday afternoon next week for Kuala Lumpur.


Buboy and Fortune said a short four-round sparring can be scheduled Monday morning depending on Pacquiao’s wish. (Eddie G Alinea/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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