People's Champ Manny Pacquiao playing basketball. File Photo.
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a huge fan of basketball and has long included playing hoops in his training regimen for fights, aside from playing the sport for fun.
His best friend and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez explained that playing basketball greatly helped the “Pacman” develop his footwork, and this will come especially handy for his upcoming rematch against Timothy Bradley on April 12.
“Yung basketball kasi, isa kasi yan sa (may) malaking impact sa boxing, (para sa) footwork niya,” Fernandez explained. “Short lang kasi ‘yung tinatakbo mo, tapos hihinto ka bigla.”
“So ‘yung ginagawa namin kanina, lateral motion. ‘Yung ang pinaka-importante sa lahat, ‘yung sa legs,” he added.
According to Fernandez, they have held back on the high-altitude road work for Pacquiao to instead focus on working on flat surfaces, which is more helpful in developing his footwork.
This is necessary, as Fernandez anticipates Bradley to opt to “run” in the rematch, where Pacquiao is attempting to avenge his controversial June 2012 loss against the unbeaten American.
“Kailangan talaga sa paa, kasi kailangan preparado tayo,” said Fernandez. “’Yung Bradley, hindi natin alam ‘yung game plan nila, pero sa tingin namin, talagang tatakbo at hindi talaga makikipagsabayan.”
At the moment, Fernandez estimates that Pacquiao is at 85 to 90% fitness.
They will leave for the United States on Saturday, where Pacquiao will hold the second part of his training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.