Let’s rally behind our national boxing team

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Manny Pacquiao, no doubt, can very well take care of himself in his next fight.


After trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao had visibly slowed down a bit, the Filipino boxing superhero cancelled a subsequent training session due to fatigue.

Nothing to worry. Latest info from the Wild Card Gym in California says Pacquiao is back to his old self.

In fact, Roach said he was amazed at how Pacquiao seemed to have grown a brand-new right arm, a lot stronger than the one that was injured last May.

Promoter Bob Arum was himself at a loss for adjectives to deliver his excitement over Pacquiao’s sensational recovery.

Do remember that Pacquiao is coming back from a big loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr. There was, in fact, a big uncertainty after his injured right shoulder was operated on due to rotator cuff trouble three days after that May 2 setback against Mayweather.

Now Pacquiao’s handlers are solidly convinced Pacquiao would score a knockout in his April 9 showdown with Timothy Bradley.

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Sorry, but we cannot say the same thing about our national boxing team, whose members are seeking slots in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The team is set to leave for China Wednesday to compete in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) has named six boxers for the China tournament.

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For the record, the team nearly missed its all-important final training stint in the United States after the Philippine Sports Commission, upon the recommendation of the Philippine Olympic Committee, turned down a request for funding.

Abap, seeking to provide the best possible preparation, turned to the MVP Sports Foundation for support.

The national boxers who will vie for one of three male slots and one of two female slots in their respective weight categories are Rogen Ladon (light flyweight, 49 kg), Roldan Boncales (flyweight, 52 kg), Mario Fernandez (bantamweight, 56 kg), Charly Suarez (60 kg), Eumir Felix Marcial (welterweight, 69 kg) and Nesthy Petecio (women’s flyweight, 51 kg).

* * *

The six were part of a group of 14 boxers who went on a whirlwind 18-day training camp in four cities in the West Coast of the United States: Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Abap secretary general Patrick Gregorio and executive director Ed Picson bared the lineup after getting recommendations from the four coaches who traveled with the group: deputy head coach Nolito Velasco, women’s head coach Roel Velasco, 3-star AIBA coach and three-time Olympian Romeo Brin and the only female coach in Abap, Mitchel Martinez.

Abap president Ricky Vargas, who is on a business trip abroad, expressed optimism and excitement over the lineup.

The China tournament includes all Asian countries and Oceania, which is composed of, among others, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and other Pacific islands.

The average age of the group is 23 years old. The most senior is Suarez at 28 and the youngest is Marcial, 19.

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