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All bases covered with Manny
By Joaquin Henson
Sat, 20 Jul 2019
LAS VEGAS. Whatever Keith Thurman intends to do in the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time), Manny Pacquiao has the antidote to make sure the undefeated American’s best-laid plans won’t work.
That’s how Marvin Somodio of Pacquiao’s training staff assessed the situation awaiting Thurman. Somodio was invited by Pacquiao to join his team when training started in Manila last May then the Senator brought him along to Los Angeles and now here. Although he has worked with Pacquiao’s team in the past as Freddie Roach’s assistant and was even in his corner for the Brandon Rios fight in Macau, it’s the first time that Somodio went full-time in camp. For six weeks, Somodio’s focus was strictly on Pacquiao, helping out head trainer Buboy Fernandez and Roach in any way.
From up close, Somodio saw Pacquiao at work----from runs in the morning to drills and sparring in the afternoon. “I think it’s the best camp ever for Manny,” said Somodio. “His performance in training and sparring is excellent. It’s a big difference from his previous camps. Manny is more serious, more motivated. I’d never seen Manny hurt his sparmates before. From what he has shown, there’s a big possibility that Manny will knock out Thurman.”
Somodio said Thurman may have been impressive in previous fights because the quality of opposition made him look good. “Thurman has never fought anyone as quick or as strong as Manny,” he said. “He’ll probably test Manny in the early rounds and come forward. Once he feels Manny’s power, he’ll run. If he boxes, Manny’s footwork will cut him off. If he engages, Manny’s power will take over. Manny has studied every option to counter anything that Thurman might do.”
Somodio said Pacquiao isn’t worried about Thurman’s length or style. “Thurman is known as a power puncher,” he said. “If he tries to fight like (Floyd) Mayweather, Manny will run him down. Fighters will end up fighting the way they’re used to. For Manny, it’s all bases covered.”
Somodio said Thurman hasn’t been the same since his involvement in a car accident in 2016 and his surgery in the right elbow in 2018. “He has declined,” said Somodio. “In his last few fights, he’s not as good as he once was. He has shown a tendency to fade in the late rounds. In comparison, we don’t expect Manny to fade at all. He’s prepared to go 12 rounds if necessary. He’s in condition.”
Somodio said his role in Pacquiao’s training team is strictly to back up Fernandez and Roach. “I give advice if needed,” he said. “Sometimes, I point out things that might help. Tulung-tulong lang as a back-up. It’s the most active role I’ve ever had in Manny’s camp. For as long as Manny continues to fight, I’ll be with his team if he wants me. I owe Manny a lot and this is my way of giving back.”
Somodio, who now lives in Los Angeles, will open his own gym near the L. A. Airport on July 27 in a grand opening. Somodio and business partner Brendan O’Reilly took a five-year lease on the 4,000-square foot facility which is called the Combinations Boxing Academy. The first day of business will be on Monday, July 29 and Somodio will hold court from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays. The gym will be equipped with treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, two boxing rings, sauna, eight heavy bags and four speed bags.
“I hope to produce my own world champions,” said Somodio. “My focus will be on training professionals as head trainer. I will also devote time with beginners and fitness enthusiasts. I’m excited to make this venture work. I know I can realize my full potential with this project.”
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