By: Yong B. Chavez
Can Manny Pacquiao manage a Roach-less victory?
The most famous Filipino athlete's longtime coach Freddie Roach wasn't at the presscon held Wednesday in Los Angeles but his name came up several times before the event was finished.
Roach is currently out of the country, training Oscar de la Hoya for his ring date with Floyd Mayweather.
"He will not be training me but he will be in my corner during the fight," Pacquiao said. "Di naman ako worried. Nandyan naman si Justin Fortune. Freddie entrusted him with my training."
Fortune, an Aussie who looks like a nicer version of Prison Break's Bellick, is Roach’s trusted assistant and has been Pacquiao's conditioning coach in his other fights.
Will Fortune be able to keep a distraction-prone Pacman in line? Everyone will see on April 14 when Pacman and Jorge Solis face each other in Texas.
Manny insists that he is training hard, and that he is in great shape.
"Nasa kondisyon ako. Mas mahirap pa nga ang training ko sa Pilipinas kasi sobrang init doon," he said.
At the presscon, he refused to talk about his political plans.
"Basta dyan, no comment muna ako. Boxing na lang ang pag-usapan natin," he said, before breaking into his characteristic boyish grin. "I'm focused on my training."
He also dismissed some people's notion that he is not taking his opponent seriously.
Solis, who was unable to make it to the presscon which is their supposed first meeting, is an undefeated ring warrior from Guadalajara, Mexico and a former Mexican super bantamweight champion. He has vowed to end Pacquiao’s dominance over Mexican boxers.
"He's good. He's taller than me and he has longer arms. Alam kong magaling siya kaya naghahanda talaga ako," he said.