Justin Fortune, the strength and conditioning coach of Manny Pacquiao, believed that the Filipino legend still has what it takes to knock out American welterweight contender Mikey Garcia.
Speaking to Little Giant Boxing, Fortune sees Pacquiao as the heftier fighter, with the boxing pride a natural welterweight compared to Garcia whose territory is at 135lbs.
“Mikey is a good fighter. He’s a tough guy. But listen, he’s a 35-pounder natural. Manny’s a f______ full-blown 47,” said the Aussie trainer in a YouTube video posted March 16, Tuesday, adding that the 42-year-old Pacquiao has the edge in experience, power and speed. “Tough things to beat. Tough things to replicate inside sparring too.”
Asked if Pacquiao can stop Garcia, Fortune responded confidently and predicted that the fight won’t go the distance.
“Should I take the under, the end is nine. I take the under,” he said.
The Pacquiao-Garcia bout is on the radar as recent reports surfaced that the Filipino eight-division world boxing champion is leaning towards the 33-year-old American besides unbeaten WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford.
For Fortune, Garcia is indeed one of the few fighters deserving to take a shot against Pacquiao, who has not fought since scoring a split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019 to improve at 62-7-2 record on top of 39 knockouts.
Garcia, for his part, beat Pacquiao’s former opponent in Jessie Vargas via unanimous decision in February last year to climb at 40-1 slate with 30 KOs.
“It’s difficult that way to get ready for fights like that. Everyone says they know how hard Manny punches and how fast he is until you get in the ring,” said Fortune. “He punches you with that speed and you’re like, “Oh, s___. I didn’t realize it was this quick or that f______ hard,” he continued with a chuckle.
Pacquiao, however, was stripped of his WBA super welterweight belt and was declared “champion in recess” due to inactivity in late January.
A long-time friend of Pacquiao, who requested anonymity, earlier told Bulletin-Tempo that the Filipino boxer-turned senator is eyeing a comeback in May.