Manny Pacquiao famously fought his way up from the streets in General Santos City to become a senator. But his story would be very different had it not been for Freddie Roach and the Wild Card Gym.

Pacquiao was virtually unknown outside of the Philippines when Roach first started working with him in 2001. The legendary trainer saw something very special in the young Filipino and the two would remain together throughout the Filipino’s boxing career.

So when Pacquiao elected to prepare for his last fight with childhood friend Buboy Fernandez instead of Roach it was headline news. The absence of the veteran trainer didn’t seem to do the 40 year old any harm as he stopped Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia.

Friends reunited

But Roach and Pacquiao have been reunited ahead of this month’s matchup with Adrien Broner. The boxer is back at the Wild Card Gym to prepare for the first defence of his WBA 147lbs title which is scheduled for January 19th (local time) in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao is in familiar surroundings and he sounded in a confident mood.

“I am not making a prediction but my goal is to knock out Broner. I am looking for a knockout against Broner. I have to maximize the opportunity. I forgot how much fun winning a fight by knockout was until I stopped Lucas Matthyssee last summer to win the WBA welterweight title. It felt great to win that way and the fans loved it too, so why not try for it again?,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao had not stopped an opponent since 2009 prior to the Matthysse win. That performance showed he had not completely lost the killer instinct which saw him finish the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya.

No hard feelings

Broner will be looking to regain the WBA 147lbs title but Pacquiao has a lot of time for his upcoming opponent.

“I have nothing personal against Adrien Broner. This fight is strictly business. He is fun. He makes me laugh. He knows how to sell himself and to sell a fight.”

The two could not help but smile when asked to face off during the publicity tour. But training is still a serious business and Roach has been impressed by the attitude of the senator.

“I think experience has made Manny a better fighter. He still trains harder than anyone. I like Broner as a fighter. I think he has excellent boxing skills. But Broner has never faced anyone like Manny. Broner will be mentally exhausted within four rounds and physically spent within six. It will be impossible for Broner to keep pace with the Manny Pacquiao of this training camp,” said Roach.

Raw power

Pacquiao has also been working with long term strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune for this training camp and he’s been very impressed with the 40 year old.

“He runs like a deer. No one can keep up with him. That’s the secret to his success, his work ethic and his stamina. He has the strongest foundation of any fighter with whom I’ve worked. His legs and calves still generate more power and speed than younger fighters,” said Fortune.

Fernandez has also been involved. After overseeing the last camp he has been working alongside Roach for this one and likes what he’s seeing from his childhood friend.

“I am very pleased with the training camp Manny has had. His footwork, distance and angles are all coming together nicely. When he hits the mitts it sounds like an explosion. I have never felt such raw power,” said Fernandez.

The fight with Broner will be broadcast on pay per view by Showtime. Pacquiao recently signed with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and if he wins this month the Filipino could possibly be rewarded with a replay of the money spinning 2015 fight with Floyd Mayweather.