Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is getting back his former conditioning coach Justine Fortune to beef up his preparation for his Nov. 24 fight against young American Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in Macau.
Fortune is expected to arrive in Manila on Friday and is expected to start working on Pacquiao’s conditioning.
The Australian conditioning coach’s arrival will effectively fill in the void caused by the yanking of Colombian Alex Ariza who figured in a rift with chief trainer Freddie Roach.
Fortune himself figured in a spat with Roach in the past over the sharing of the trainer and conditioner’s fees in Pacquiao’s fight against Mexican Jorge Solis.
This problem has apparently been solved because Fortune could not have possibly rejoined the team without the approval of Roach. Fortune, a former heavyweight campaigner, was Pacquiao’s conditioning coach during the early years of his successful US campaign which included sensational wins over Marco Antonio Barrera. Shortly after the departure of Ariza from the Pacquiao, insiders expressed fears that the Filipino boxing icon’s preparation for his fight against Rios would be adversely affected by the absence of a conditioning coach.
Fortune’s re-entry completes the feared Team Pacquiao of years back with Freddie Roach as the chief trainer, Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri as assistant trainers and Fortune as conditioning coach.
The return of his old team to his corner could also have a positive psychological effect on Pacquiao who is in a must win situation following his two successive losses, first to American Timothy Bradley and a shocking knockout loss to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
Meanwhile, the congressman of Saranggani Province is stepping up his training by sparring Ghana’s undefeated IBF Continental Africa welterweight champion and newly crowned IBF International welterweight king Fredrick Lawson at his MP Towers Gym on Tuesday. It will be the first serious sparring session for Pacquiao who last week sparred with General Santos townmate Marlon Alta after his South Korean sparring partner apparently had a difference with his manager and failed to show up.
Lawson who is ranked No. 5 in the IBF Intercontinental ratings won the IBF title with a twelve round decision over Georgia’s strongman Georgi Ungiadze in what was described as “a rumble” which took place at the Jubilee Pool House, in the Ghananian capital of Accra in a fight that had fans on their feet throughout.
Lawson won a gold medal in the 2007 African Boxing Championship and silver in the 2008 and 2009 Championships and represented Ghana in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.