Pacquiao’s intensity awes strength, fitness coach

MANILA, Philippines – After nine weeks in training camp and around 159 rounds of sparring, it is time for Manny Pacquiao to finally taper off for his 12-round fight with Oscar de la Hoya on December 7 (December 6, US time) at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel.

But for a fighter as intense as Pacquiao, slowing down doesn’t appear to be a part of his vocabulary.

Alex Arisa, Pacquiao’s conditioning and fitness coach, is amazed at how his fighter has managed to push himself to the limit and still keep his passion and concentration at the same high level.

“He’s probably the only fighter who can dictate how hard he can push himself,” said Arisa, who is working for Pacquiao for the second time after taking over from Justine Fortune last June or just prior to the bout with former world lightweight champion David Diaz.

“If [Pacquiao] wants to, he’ll push himself to 110 percent 100 percent of the time. Or he’ll slow down and speed up. It’s bizarre to see somebody be able to adjust their intensity level the way he does.”

Yet whether he likes it or not, Pacquiao has to finally cool down in his training with only less than a week left before inarguably the biggest fight of his career.

That means cutting the running into half, doing things at a slower pace and not pushing himself too much.

“He really trained hard for this fight so he really needs this period for recovery,” said the soft-spoken conditioning coach.

At the moment, Arisa said Pacquiao is on “top for sure” in terms of conditioning.

“He’ll probably be 95 percent ready a day before the fight. And with the rest and the food intake, he’ll be 100 percent on Saturday,” he added.

Arisa came under fire earlier during training for letting Pacquiao do plyometrics at training camp. Plyometrics is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements and improve the functions of the nervous system. But the method apparently didn’t work well with Pacquiao.

The workout was later blamed for Pacquiao’s sluggish movement in training, forcing Arisa and chief trainer Freddie Roach to later on set aside the exercise.

“You know, you can’t blame plyometrics,” Arisa said over lunch at Pacquiao’s Palazzo apartment Sunday. “It’s a very difficult training system, the principle, the method is very difficult.”

“With somebody like Manny, he would have adopted to it, but maybe [some guys] are a little fearful. They got a little scared. Freddie and I thought that he was gonna work through it, but they didn’t want to risk it,” he said. – GMANews.TV

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