PHOTO: Chris Farina/TOP RANK
NO-NONSENSE Justin Fortune, the former pro heavyweight who now serves as Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, has outlined why he believes he is a much better fit for the role than his predecessor Alex Ariza, who now works with the Filipino’s arch rival, Floyd Mayweather. His reasoning has little to do with physiological expertise, but more his personality type and that his presence or, more pointedly, Ariza’s absence, has made the whole camp ahead of the Mayweather Fight of the Century a more harmonious environment.
“If they’re miserable and there’s animosity in camp, you don’t get the performance out of your athlete,” he told us exclusively. “That’s pretty f***ing simple and that’s what there was, from what I gather, animosity in that camp. It was one person doing it all and they got rid of him then Mayweather took him on: how stupid is that? What f***ing point does it prove? He doesn’t know s***, [Pacquiao’s head trainer] Freddie [Roach]’s forgotten more than this pr*** will ever know. Number two, he just got fired from Freddie, he just got fired from [Robert] Garcia and then he went to Mayweather, so if you’re trying to prove a point, you really don’t know what the f*** you’re doing [laughs]. If you’re trying to play a mind game, you’re even dumber than what we thought because we just took the cancer out of our camp and you took it in; that’s more your bad luck than anything else. That’s not really that smart.”
Fortune reveals some of the work he, Roach and Pacquiao are doing ahead of the May 2 megafight in next week’s Boxing News magazine and while Fortune doubts Mayweather’s judgement when it pertains to training personnel, he retains a healthy respect for “Money” as a fighter.
“Taking nothing away from Mayweather, this guy can fight,” conceded the Australian. “We’re not underestimating him, not by a long shot.”
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