MANILA – Conditioning coach Alex Ariza said Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has become stronger than he was when he fought former junior welterweight champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton 5 months ago.
In a report posted on sports Website Insidesports.ph, Ariza said Pacquiao “looked good and strong” with six weeks left before the November 14 “Fire Power” showdown with WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto.
Although Ariza admitted that the Filipino champ had problems in his first sparring session with undefeated light middleweight Shawn Porter, he said Pacquiao recovered quickly and “has been on track ever since”.
Pacquiao is currently undergoing training in Baguio City.
Ariza, who helped Pacquiao improve in terms of his power and explosiveness, explained that the Filipino boxer is gradually improving because of his “muscle memory”.
“The body and the muscles have memory so he’s just reverting back to what it used to be but a little faster than we had in the past. That’s all it is. It remembers where it was in the Hatton fight and is getting right back,” he said.
In fact, Ariza thinks Pacquiao even looks stronger than he was for the Hatton fight where the Filipino knocked the Brit out of his senses in Round 2.
“[Pacquiao] is stronger, is faster than he was in the past,” he said, stressing that “if we could hold it here until we get to America and we can hold that weight we will be right on track.”
Pacquiao plans to defeat Cotto in an attempt to win a seventh title in seven different weight classes. Their title showdown will take place at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.