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Manny Pacquiao is virtually unbeatable, says Justin Fortune

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach has praised the former eight-division world champion’s preparation for his recent bout against Argentinean power-puncher Lucas Matthysse, saying that if he continues to prepare like this he will be virtually unbeatable.

Australian expatriate Justin Fortune, who owns and runs the Fortune Gym in Hollywood, California, says training smarter not harder was the key to the 39-year-old Filipino senator scoring his first knockout win in nine years against Matthysse at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15.

“If he trains like that, he is going to be pretty much unbeatable,” Fortune told the Manila Times last week. “Much more – train smart and avoid being overtrained – that Manny Pacquiao is going to beat a lot of people and still a very, very dangerous fighter.”

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A year after losing his WBO welterweight crown to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn 18-1-1 (12) in front of 51,000 fans at the outdoor Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, questions were being asked about Pacquiao’s longevity in the game.

The seventh round stoppage of WBA welterweight champion Matthysse 39-5 (36) and the dominant nature of the win has Pacquiao backers applauding his return to form.

“Great statement. Manny needs to make a statement,” added Fortune, a former heavyweight contender who once fought Lennox Lewis. “He is fast and strong. He is pretty unbeatable. I just saw that Manny is in control of the fight for the whole time.”

One of the casualties of Pacquiao’s loss to Horn was his longtime coach Freddie Roach, who was unceremoniously sacked after a 16-year partnership that extends back to 2001 when the then-unknown Filipino walked into the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles looking for a trainer for his upcoming American debut against IBF super bantamweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao’s blistering sixth round stoppage of Ledwaba would not only halt the South African’s two-year championship reign, but also launch the careers of both the “Pacamn” and Roach. Their 34-fight run would result in 27 wins against five losses and two draws with 16 knockouts.

Replacing Roach as head trainer for the Matthysse fight was Pacquiao’s lifelong friend Buboy Fernandez. Fortune was full of praise for the job he did in getting his friend ready for battle.

“This is very much a team effort this time and great training camp, absolutely,” said Fortune. “Me, Buboy and Noy [Neri, assistant trainer], we talked amongst ourselves, see what works and what doesn’t work.”

Fortune refused to be drawn on whether Roach would be likely to re-join the Pacquiao team in the future.

“No comment on that,” he said.

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