Pacquiao coach Justin Fortune battling throat and neck cancer

Naveen Ganglani

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Pacquiao coach Justin Fortune battling throat and neck cancer
'I’ve stood toe-to-toe my whole life, so that’s what I’m still doing,' said Fortune of his battle with cancer

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from helping his boxer prepare for the biggest fight of his career, Manny Pacquiao’s 49-year-old conditioning coach Justine Fortune is also in a battle of his own for his life. 

The Australian conditioner, who resumed working with Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach last year, is fighting throat and neck cancer. 

Per, Fortune recently had a bone graft from his forearm to replace some of the nodules the doctors had to remove from his throat during his chemotherapy and radiation processes. 

“They say it’s the worst cancer treatment, throat cancer. I didn’t believe them, but they were spot on,” said Fortune, who’s lost 35 kilograms.

“The only way to treat cancer is to cut, burn and poison. You lose your taste buds, your saliva glands, it’s horrible.

Fortune, a former heavyweight boxer who fought against greats like Lennox Lewis, doesn’t plan on letting his diseases take him over as he continues to fight them every day.

“It’s all about your mindset. If you want to roll over and die, you will. But if you want to fight it, then fight. I’ve stood toe-to-toe my whole life, so that’s what I’m still doing,” he said.

Though the remedy has been tough, Fortune says that he is now in the “healing process.” 

“I totally understand people switching off, it devastates you in mind and body. But it is what it is. I’ve been through the worst part of the fight and now it’s a healing process.” 

Pacquiao is set to battle the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada and has recently started his training at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California. 

“We don’t want anything about what we do inside the gym appearing anywhere, but the preparation so far has been perfect,” Fortune said.

“Everyone knows styles makes fights. Floyd’s a great fighter but he’s got holes in his defence and holes in his offence. Manny has also got a power advantage. We’ll be ready to go come May 2.”

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