'I think we'll stop him': Justin Fortune on Pacquiao vs Broner
Luke G. Williams
Photos (top to bottom): JP Lim, Wendell Alineas, Gil Ortiz of Fortune Gym
Justin Fortune gives Boxing Monthly the inside track from Manny Pacquiao's training camp ahead of Saturday's fight against Adrien Broner...
Few men know Manny Pacquiao as well as Justin Fortune, the likeable Australian who has worked as the legendary Filipino's strength and conditioning coach for many years.
Fortune once told me that he sees Pacquiao is “a freak - just like Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson or LeBron James - a freak of his sport.
"I mean he’s been world champion or number one for 15 years or whatever which is phenomenal – who else has ever done that?"
Today, as Fortune helps prepare Pacquiao for Saturday's welterweight showdown against Adrien Broner, the former pro heavyweight and power-lifter is confident that Pac-Man is in peak condition.
"Training camp has been good," Fortune tells Boxing Monthly. "We've had a couple of interruptions with Manny's birthday and Christmas but we're on track and in good shape.
"We just need to curb his training and pull him back a little bit, so he's ready to explode on Saturday night."
Although Broner has gone 0-1-1 in his last two fights (against a career record of 33-3-1), Fortune expects the American to be in peak condition.
"Broner's Broner. He's got a good trainer. He's been very quiet during camp so we know he's training hard. He will be in shape and he will come to fight, he's coming to win. Everyone who fights Pacquiao fights well above their pay grade."
Nevertheless, Fortune firmly believes that Broner is also there to be taken and will be the Filipino's second knockout victim in a row - in his last fight Pacquiao TKO'd Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds to secure his first stoppage victory since 2009.
"It's a good fight and we're looking for the stoppage," Fortune said. "Broner's a 140lb-er and, yes, he's got a good record against southpaws but he's never faced someone like Manny.
"Until you jump in there with Manny you don't realise how hard he punches. This guy can crack and then you put his speed on top of it, that makes it twice as devastating, which takes people by surprise.
"With Pacquiao over the past ten years, all his opponents, when they finish the fight - win or lose - they look like they've been through a bloody war. With Broner, I think, that he won't take that beating. I can't see him taking a beating like that off Manny. I think we'll stop him."
Saturday represents Pacquiao's 70th paid pugilistic encounter, and Fortune admitted it is unclear how much longer the 40-year-old, eight-weight world titlist will continue to lace them up.
"I don't know, he's still ridiculously popular and he makes great money. He'll fight on until he starts to slow down. It's up to Manny really. We can only make suggestions, but Manny will make that call.
"Listen, eventually age gets us all, there will come a time when Manny decides enough is enough. But right now that ain't happening. We're not thinking of how many fights we have left when we have a fight coming up. As long as he beats Broner, that's our first target."
One contest, of course, that Pacquiao still hankers after is a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, the on-off retired former pound for pound king of boxing, who bested Pac-Man on points in 2015.
When asked for his take on Mayweather's recent boxing exhibition against Tenshin Nasukawa, in which 'Money' demolished the 20-year-old inside one round, the straight-talking Fortune does not mince his words.
"Floyd made a lot of money out of it, so good luck to Floyd. but it was a circus act. And it did him no justice whatsoever to beat up a 20-year-old 126lbs kickboxer who wasn't allowed to kick! I mean what the fuck can you say? Yeah he made money out of it but I don't think anyone in Asia will ever buy another Floyd Mayweather fight. It was pointless."
Fortune remains sceptical that Mayweather vs Pacquiao 2 will happen.
"If Manny destroys Broner in the fashion that we want him to and what he's setting out to do, then I don't think he'll get Mayweather. I think Floyd loves that zero way too much to risk it against Manny."