Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao has added Nonito Donaire Sr to his team to help him prepare for his July 15 clash with WBA “regular” welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina at the Axiata Arena in Malaysia.
The move will mark the first time in more than 15 years that the 39-year-old Filipino senator has boxed with an all-Filipino team cornering him for a fight.
Pacquiao boxed two rounds on the mitts with Donaire Sr, who trained his son Nonito Donaire Jr to win world championships in three separate weight classes.
“Donaire will serve as one of the assistant coaches,” said Pacquiao, who recently announced his split from longtime trainer Freddie Roach who has been with the southpaw whirlwind since his USA debut against Lehlohonolo Ledwada for the IBF super bantamweight title back in 2001.
“So far, so good. I am happy with my current team,” said Pacquiao.
Replacing Roach as head trainer is lifelong friend Buboy Fernandez while Nonoy Neri, who has often acted as camp cook, will be assistant trainer.
Pacquiao is expected to name his strength and conditioning coach in the coming days. Los Angeles-based Australian Justin Fortune has previously performed that role, but with Pacquiao’s push for an all-Filipino line-up the outspoken Aussie may well be on the outer.
Last year Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn, who outmuscled and outhustled the veteran over 12-rounds at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in July. Pacquiao lodged a protest at the result, but a panel of five independent WBO judges rescored the fight and determined that Horn was the deserved winner.