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Roach to Pacquiao: Shape up

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Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach was straight to the point when asked about the progress of Manny Pacquiao’s buildup for the July 2 fight against Jeff Horn in Brisbane.

“We are behind schedule,” Roach said yesterday after enduring five rounds of Pacquiao in sparring with two sparmates at the Elorde Five Ecom in Pasay City.

“His timing is bad and his distance is terrible,” Roach said, adding that it’s been years since he saw Pacquiao look bad during workout.

Roach landed in the country Sunday morning and presided over Pacquiao’s training for the second straight day and didn’t mince words in is assessment of his 38-year-old ward.

With six weeks to go, Roach, however, is not even looking at pressing the panic button.

“We still have time and I expect to see progress every time we train,” said the 57-year-old Roach.

While Pacquiao has been reporting to the gym the last two weeks, it was apparent that the eight-division titleholder wasn’t progressing slowly, insists Roach.

“But knowing Manny, we will get there,” said Roach.

The arrival of Roach should put a sense of order in Pacquiao’s camp as the Boston native is no-nonsense guy and has little patience for mediocrity.

There is also one bit of concern for Roach, who wants to leave for Brisbane at least two weeks before the Horn fight “to get used to the local conditions.”

“Remember, it’s winter over there and here…it different. It’s hot,” he said.

Roach will have plenty of time to convince Pacquiao to change his mind of leaving a week before the fight and Roach believes he has an ace up is sleeve.

“I was told Jinkee liked it over there so maybe I will ask Jinkee (to convince him),” said Roach, referring to Jinkee’s experience Down Under when she accompanied his husband during the promotional tour last month.

“I’ll talk to her,” said Roach, smiling.

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