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Manny Pacquiao arrives in Los Angeles to begin training for Mayweather

Fighters Network
01
Mar
Manny Pacquiao surrounded by members of the KIA Carnival basketball team in the Philippines a couple hours before flying to Los Angeles to begin training for his May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Photo: Getty Images.

Manny Pacquiao surrounded by members of the KIA Carnival basketball team in the Philippines a couple hours before flying to Los Angeles to begin training for his May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Photo: Getty Images.

MANILA, Philippines – With a flight to catch to Los Angeles that night, Manny Pacquiao spent his final hours in Manila around the other sport he loves on Saturday.

Pacquiao patrolled the sidelines at the San Juan Arena in the same pink oxford and black slacks he would wear to board Philippine Airlines Flight 102 two hours after the final buzzer rang between the KIA Carnival (which he coaches) and expansion rivals Blackwater Elite in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Pacquiao remained focused on the game, and after his squad finished on the losing end he and his entourage made their way to the airport. They departed at 9 p.m. and arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at 8:05 p.m. the following night, local time.

The focus will switch to boxing in Los Angeles as he prepares for his May 2 bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The eight-division champion Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) will report to the Wild Card Boxing Club on Monday, March 2 – the same day Mayweather reports to his gym in Las Vegas to begin camp.



Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, won’t be there, however, as he tends to Chinese flyweight Zou Shiming ahead of his March 7 bout with IBF flyweight titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng in Macau.

Pacquiao will work with Roach’s assistant, Marvin Somodio, as well as longtime confidant Buboy Fernandez. Pacquiao’s first two sparring partners – unbeaten 21-year-old prospects Kenneth Sims Jr. (5-0, 2 KOs) of Chicago and Rashidi Ellis (13-0, 10 KOs) of Lynn, Massachusetts – will arrive on March 8 and begin sparring some time in the next two to three weeks, according to Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz.

Koncz says that the reason Pacquiao’s camp was relocated to Los Angeles had little to do with the distractions Pacquiao faces in his home country, but rather with the proximity to the fight venue.

“It’s going to be a very tough fight. People say that Floyd’s legs are shot. In fact Manny and I were talking about that last night. Maybe Floyd underestimated [Marcos Maidana and Miguel Cotto], so we’re not going to underestimate Floyd,” says Koncz of the fight.

“We know he will be in the best shape, we know he wants to retain his ‘0.’ We know he wants to prove that he’s better than Manny. So we’re prepared for that.”

Meanwhile, a voice from Pacquiao’s past – former conditioning coach Alex Ariza – has said he thinks the 36-year-old Pacquiao is no longer the same fighter he was, telling FightHype, “The guy that I trained five years ago, the guy that was walking through walls and that was literally breaking bones with shots and comatizing people with single shots, the opponent that we have now is a shell of that guy.”

Fernandez dismissed concerns that Ariza will be a major asset to his new employer, Mayweather, saying, “When he was on our team, what did we get? Mostly cramps, right? No one else knew of these but me.”

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