MANILA, Philippines – Filipino ring legend Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is playing a lot more basketball and doing less hill work as he gears up for his April 12 rematch against unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr.
The changes in Pacquiao’s training routine were approved by Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach, who was in General Santos for the past two weeks, overseeing the Filipino’s training camp.
Before Team Pacquiao left for Los Angeles on Saturday, Roach explained why he cut down Pacquiao’s hill work and allowed the boxer to play more hoops instead.
“I took the hills away because it’s not conducive for what we do,” he said. “There are no hills in the ring. It’s flat ring.”
“(What we need is) lateral movement, side-to-side. Track work is much more beneficial for him,” he added, adding that playing basketball, with its drills that require side-to-side movement, is more usefu.
Moreover, repeatedly running hills “are killing his legs,” Roach said.
He will still allow Pacquiao to run along Hollywood Hills twice a week, but Roach said he will “control the running” for the rest of training camp.
The trainer also assured Pacquiao’s supporters that the Filipino was in great shape already and is ahead of schedule in training camp.
“He’s in very, very good shape at this point. He is a little bit ahead of schedule,” said Roach. “We did 15 rounds of mitts in the other day, and he wasn’t even breathing (hard) after 15 rounds.”
“I think he’s as good as he ever has been. I think he hasn’t lost anything. His skills are there, his speed is there, his power is there. He is still the very, very, very good Manny Pacquiao,” he added. -- With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News.