Manny Pacquiao trains double-time for fight against Marquez

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For the last four weeks prior to his third match with heated rival Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao is found training double-time with trainer Freddie Roach.

Veteran fight promoter Bob Arm watched the boxing king in the Hollywood ring and expressed some warning words to the trainer: “Slow him down.”

The 32-year-old Pacquiao has fought with Marquez in 2004, which ended in a draw, and in 2008, where Pacquiao won by split-decision, with the decisive score being a one-point margin. For the fight this November 12 in Las Vegas, Pacquiao has been telling his close confidants that he did not want this match to be in the judges’ hands.

He’s aiming for the knockout, confirmed Roach, explaining that that was what they were training for.

Indeed, almost immediately after the announcement of the fight, Pacquiao had already started running, not even waiting for the Philippine introductory news conference. From then on, some people have already expressed concerns about his proper pacing.

In boxing, there is apparently a risk of peaking too early, wherein the athlete works so hard during the first month or so of training, that his body winds up succumbing to fatigue during the final weeks prior to a fight.

Roach said that he and Pacquiao were ahead of where they usually were, estimating it at 75-80% of where they intended to be by fight night. Usually, by this time, they would have reached about 50% of their target.

He admitted that he needed to make sure they did not overdo the training.

Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) seemed nonchalant when questioned about his intense effort of preparing for the fight with his 38-year-old rival, who stood at 53-5-1, 39 knockouts.

He said he was focusing on his strength and speed. “They’re watching my body, so I don’t become too big,” he said, explaining that he controlled his training step by little step, wanting to be gradual in his training until the day of the fight comes.

However, Alex Ariza, his conditioning coach, notes that his words did not seem to match what Pacquiao was actually doing. During an animated conversation he had with Pacquiao last week, Ariza said he told the boxer that drills that built up strength in the legs and feet were more important at this stage than strength training for his upper-body.

Ariza commented that Pacquiao wanted to be as big as he was when he fought against Miguel Cotto two years ago, a fight he won by a knockout. After that last knockout, Pacquiao saw three unanimous decisions given consecutively in fights against larger opponents.

He quipped, “I think he just wants to kill Marquez.”

Apparently, Pacquiao has never forgiven Marquez not only for complaining unceasingly after his loss in 2008, but also for travelling to the Philippines wearing T-shirts that said he was robbed of a win and wanting a third fight.

In that vein, Pacquiao said that this fight would prove to be the answer to those doubts.

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