Manny Pacquiao wasn’t even supposed to be at the Wild Card Boxing Club on Friday, August 13 (Saturday, August 14, Philippine time). But there he was, stretching, doing mitts work with Freddie Roach for two hours.
They were plotting out strategies, rehearsing adjustments for his Saturday, August 21 (Sunday, August 22, Philippine time) clash with Cuban Yordenis Ugas, who was gifted the “super” welterweight crown taken away by the World Boxing Association away from Pacquiao due to inactivity.
“Pagpag lang (shaking it off),” Pacquiao told sportswriters.
Pacquiao and his training team, which also includes conditioning coach Justin Fortune and Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez, who were supposed to review again Ugas past fights and study the Cuban’s ring movements.
But it didn’t take long as Pacquiao felt he had seen enough.
“Sulyap lang, basa na (just a glance and you already know),” said Pacquiao, who was actually told not to report for gym work as he’s ahead of his preparations for Ugas.
“It isn’t difficult to adjust because I’m used to preparing for right-handers. What would be harder is if you’re slated to fight a right-hander then suddenly you’d be pitted against a southpaw.”
Of course, Pacquiao isn’t looking past Ugas.
“We can’t underestimate Ugas, he’s a champion and an Olympic bronze medalist,” said Pacquiao. “I know he’s also well-prepared. This is good because he took my belt and we can settle who really owns it in the ring.”
Reminded that Ugas may be just as hungry as when he fought and beat South African great Lehlo Ledwaba, who died last month due to COVID-19.
“That’s right, so the more I need to be careful,” Pacquiao said.
Like Pacquiao, Roach isn’t also worried by the switch in opponents.
“Only slight adjustment, no big changes. I mean he (Ugas) is a little bit slow. He’s always going for the home run. He’s a big puncher and he goes for the big right,” said Roach.
“For this opponent, I think what Manny does naturally is made for this guy.”
Pacquiao also did his morning run-up to the Griffith Park parking lot, where he was greeted by hundreds of fans, including Americans and Mexicans who waited for the 8-division world champion and lined up to get his signature and pose for pictures.
“There were too many people,” said Pacquiao, noting the huge crowd even exceeded the number of supporters who showed up for his runs during his Fight of the Century with Floyd Mayweather in 2015. – Rappler.com