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Roach wants early training for Pacquiao

by Nick Giongco

BEVERLY HILLS – If only he can have his way, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach wants Manny Pacquiao to show up at the doors of the Wild Card Boxing Club six weeks before the July 20 encounter with Keith Thurman in Las Vegas.

Although Thurman does not give him the creeps, he 50-year-old Roach would rather see the Filipino legend working his tail off under his watch the soonest.

Freddie Roach (Nick Giongco photo)

Freddie Roach (Nick Giongco photo)

“I would like to see him earlier, like six weeks before,” said Roach on Wednesday when told that the 40-year-old Pacquiao plans to fly back here from Manila four weeks before the bout that takes place at the MGM Grand.

Even conditioning coach Justin Fortune swears time is pretty running fast and that they all have to start working.

“We got less than eight weeks of camp,” said Fortune, who intends to travel to Manila this weekend.

Roach actually has about eight fighters to choose from who all could lend a hand in sparring.

Roach is likely to slide to the role of training assistant and consultant to give Buboy Fernandez his day in the sun for the third straight time.

“None at all,” said Roach when asked about what he concerns him most about Pacquiao facing Thurman, unbeaten in 29 fights with 22 KOs.

Pacquiao, coming off a rousing win over Adrien Broner, enters the ring with a 61-7-2 card with 39 KOs and a burning desire to silence the trash-talking American.

Thurman was at it again for the third straight day with his antics after kicking off his verbal tirade in New York, where the first stop of the press tour took place.

“Pacquiao is like a T-Rex (dinosaur),” said Thurman, gesturing that Pacquiao has short arms although he only enjoys a two-edge in reach at 69 inches.

Reacting to Pacquiao’s habit of reciting Bible verses, Thurman said his seasoned foe is going to end up getting beat.

“I know he loves to quote the Bible and he is getting crucified,” he added. Pacquiao, seated just a few feet away, didn’t even flinch.

A few days ago in New York, Pacquiao, while having breakfast with his team, relished the idea of getting it on with Thurman and seeing him pay for his misdeeds.

“I will have him eat his words,” he said.

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