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Ariza only good for hugs says Roach

General Santos City — Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said Team Pacquiao will not miss former strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao confer during one of their training sessions. File photo by Wendell Alinea Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao confer during one of their training sessions. File photo by Wendell Alinea
Asked  if Ariza’s transfer to Rios’ camp can have adverse effect on Pacquiao’s performance, Roach’s immediate reply was, “who cares?” “All he does anyway is stretch people and hug them,” he said as he illustrated how Ariza does his things. Upon arrival in this city Roach said he was satisfied with the Pacquiao’s progress. “Very good, I think the camp has done well.” Roach made the assessment on the day he arrived here and see for himself the gains achieved by his prized pupil four weeks after pitching camp at the Pacman Wild Card Gym. “I have actually been monitoring the progress of the camp through the videos Manny himself has been sending daily and I can say that everything’s going a-okay,” Roach, who flew in at the Ninoy Aquion International Airport Terminal  2 at dawn and proceeded here immediately, related. Roach confirmed an earlier statement attributed to him that he and the training staff will be preparing Pacquiao to win by KO over his coming showdown with Mexican-American Brandon Rios to help him recover his winning ways following a pair of stunning losses last year.
Four-time Fighter of the year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America Manny Pacquiao trains with mitts under the supervision of his mentor Freddie Roach. File photo by Wendell Alinea Four-time Fighter of the year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America Manny Pacquiao trains with mitts under the supervision of his mentor Freddie Roach. File photo by Wendell Alinea
“We’ll definitely go for a knockout. Manny still gets what it takes to regain his status and that what we will be proving in this fight against Rios,” he vowed, adding “Bam Bam” is a tough fighter and would prove be a tough customer. “But Manny, as usual, would be tougher. He looks to have shaded away the rust brought about by almost a year in hibernation and bringing him back to his fighting form won’t be that hard. He only needs some adjustments,”  Roach said. Like Pacquiao, Roach discounted the idea of going back to Baguio for high-altitude training and acclimatizing for Macau’s cold weather in November. “No need,” he said when reminded of the fight venue’s weather condition. “The Philippines and Macau belong to the same time zone and a sudden change of temperature won’t matter.” Pacquiao sparred for three rounds a against local junior welterweight Dan Nazareno and six more  against Ghanian IBF international welterweight titleholder Fredrick Lawson, flashing his old fighting form to the amazement of his Hall of Fame trainer.
Manny Pacquiao jogs around the Acharon Stadium to start his day. With him are friends including pet dog Pacman. Paul Morales Manny Pacquiao jogs around the Acharon Stadium to start his day. With him are friends including pet dog Pacman. Paul Morales
The four-time Fighter of the year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America then switched to the mitts for four rounds with his mentor, while rounding out the two-hour workout staying two one round with the heavy bags and a pair of rounds each  on the double end and speed ball and on the ropes. “Fine start and I would like to thank Buboy,  Nonoy and Haplas  for what they did while I was still away,” Roach, who started his sporting career as a miler and ball player before switching to boxing said in reference to assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy  Neri and Roger Fernandez who held the fort while he was away. He also expressed satisfaction over the choice of Lawson as one of the four sparring partners for Pacquiao that will include a pair he brought along in coming here—British middleweight campaigner Liam Vaughan and Chinese Yang Lianhui. “He’s tough and fast,” Roach said of Lawson, who substituted for Korean Min Woon-Kim, the original choice earlier but failed to honor his commitment lowing to a misunderstanding with his handlers. Vaughan, from Liverpool in England, the home of the Beatles, and Yang are both undefeated in their just starting fighting career. Vaughan, 23, has so far fought 10 times stopping seven of those who crossed his path. Yang, a native of Chinese Commune Dan Lian who is now based in Anyang, South Korea, owns a 13-0 win-loss records with 9 KOs. Vaughan was a walk in customer at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and caught the attention of the sweat shop and his team with his impressive sparring performances with world contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Peter Quillin, James Maltrosyan and Alfonso Gomez. “Both would be worthy sparring mates for Manny. They’re young, quick with power in their hands that resemble that of Rios,” Roach said of his wards. “If that’s what we need, we’ll get it.” This, in essence, was Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach proclaimed by way of reacting to persistent reports for Manny Pacquiao’s need to knockout American Brandon “Bam Bam” Bradley in his comeback fight six weeks from now in Macau. “Obviously that’s what Manny wants when he decided to start his preparations 10 weeks from fight time,” the 53-year-old four-time corner man of the year said upon his arrival here to personally handle Pacquiao’s fine-tuning in his efforts to vault back from a pair of losses he suffered last year and reclaim his reputation as one of the best fighters all-time. “The camp looks to have started the way it should, with the end in view of preparing Manny to win convincingly, preferably by knockout.  We’ll continue trekking that road with our eyes focused on that,” Roach assured as he paid tribute to the efforts of assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and the rest of the training team in laying the groundwork for the next six weeks of training program. Roach arrived in Manila Thursday morning with a pair of sparring partner —British Liam Vaughan and Chinese Yang Lianhui—in tow. “Manny, you see, is his trainer himself. He knows how to conduct himself in training, he knows how to pace himself,” Roach, who started his athletic career as a miler and ballplayer before being lured to the sweet science as a fighter, divulged. Pacquiao traded punches with gusto for three rounds against Nazareno, a Philippine junior-welterweight contender before working for six more against Lawson, the newly-crowned IBF international welterweight belt holder, flashing his old fighting form to that impressed Roach no end The four-time Fighter of the year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America then switched to the mitts for four rounds with his mentor, while rounding out the two-hour workout staying two one round with the heavy bags and a pair of rounds each  on the double end and speed ball and on the ropes. Roach also expressed satisfaction over the choice of Lawson who, along with Nazareno Vaughan and Yang  will form a quartet of sparring that that will see to it that Pacquiao recovers from his long absence in the ring.
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