When Manny Pacquiao reports for training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood next month, he will be welcomed there by a familiar face, someone who played a part in his ascension to superstardom.
Former fighter Justin Fortune, who now owns and operates a gym several blocks from the Wild Card of Freddie Roach, is excited to reunite with Pacquiao and Roach as they get ready for the April 12 rematch with Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Fred Sternburg, who works as Pacquiao’s publicist, confirmed Fortune’s return to Team Pacquiao over the weekend.
Fortune used to be Pacquiao’s conditioning coach before he had a falling out with Roach in 2007 and he was in the corner when Pacquiao mauled Marco Antonio Barrera in Nov. 2003 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, the fight that catapulted the Filipino puncher to immortality.
Fortune, 48, will take the place of Alex Ariza, the Colombian-born, Los Angeles-based strength expert who was in Pacquiao’s corner from 2008 until 2012.
Roach had dumped Ariza last year for allegedly messing up Roach’s training style and approach.
The Wild Card phase of Pacquiao’s buildup will happen in the first week of March as Pacquiao will first conduct his pre-conditioning in General Santos City under the watch of local trainers.
Pacquiao has actually began working out as he expects to be put under extreme training conditions once he shows up at the Wild Card.