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Pacquiao rehires Fortune

Manny Pacquiao (nytsyn)

LOS ANGELES — Four weeks spent conditioning Manny Pacquiao has made returning strength coach Justin Fortune realize that the Filipino still has a lot of gas left in the tank although the April 12 rematch with Tim Bradley won’t be an easy one.

Fortune served as Pacquiao’s fitness guru from 2003 until 2007, years when Pacquiao was leaving a trail of broken bones and bloody nostrils in his wake.

“Manny still has the combination of power and speed,” said the Los Angeles-based Australian slugger who fought as a heavyweight during his professional career.

“And that’s a deadly combination,” said Fortune, dismissing observations that Pacquiao is starting to slow down.

Fortune, who had a falling out with trainer Freddie Roach, was signed up after Pacquiao let go of Alex Ariza owing to friction within the camp.

With Fortune back as a member of the team, the old-timers are happy that he has rejoined the group in this buildup for next week’s second meeting with Bradley in Las Vegas.

Even Roach admitted having to “swallow my pride” but quickly realized that Fortune has turned out to be “a perfect fit.”

Despite his assessment that Pacquiao remains a hardworker and continues to get motivated, Fortune knows the Bradley “won’t be a cakewalk.”

“Bradley is the type of fighter you don’t take lightly,” said Fotune. (Nick Giongco)