The run up the Griffith Park trail in Los Angeles has been a signature component of Manny Pacquiao’s training for big fights. In his first morning in the US, Eumir Marcial decided to give it a go.
The moment he approached the road leading to the Griffith Observatory, signalling that he was at the end of his run, Marcial, dressed in a dark blue Philippine team track suit, looked winded. And he didn’t even cover Pacquiao’s full route.
The stark difference—plus the fact that a fresh-looking Pacquiao normally performs punishing crunches after runs—didn’t deflate Marcial’s morale. It motivated and energized him even more.
“I now know how far I still have to go and how much more I have to do to become a great champion,” Marcial said.
That initial run provided him a glimpse of the path he needs to take as he pursues two bold goals. And as if to further hammed down the point, Marcial met Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach on Thursday at the famed Wild Card gym on Vine St., Hollywood, to begin plotting his professional career and, more importantly, his journey toward potentially ending the Philippines’ gold drought in the Olympics.
“Just being here is a big help to my confidence,” Marcial said.
The meeting naturally threw Roach back to 2001, when he first met Pacquiao, then a scrawny 122-pounder looking for his first US fight.
“When Eumir walked through the door into the upstairs gym, I flashed back to 2001 when Manny first walked through the same door looking for someone to do mitts with him,” said Roach. “Eumir and I had a great time. I told him the story of how Manny and I met and showed him the original ring where we trained for so many fights, the dressing room Manny used in the original portion of the gym, and had a nice talk about what we expected from each other.”
Under Roach, Pacquiao crushed opponents and blurred boxing’s weight lines with his rare mix of speed and power to become the sport’s only eight-division champion and one of its all-time greats.
Marcial is hoping to trek the same path, and Roach likes what he has seen so far.
“Eumir has a lot of power and talent but we have a lot of work to do. It’s a very unusual situation working on a fighter’s professional debut knowing that we will be preparing for the Olympics after he turns professional,” said Roach. “I really hope we can be the first to bring a world title and an Olympic gold to the Philippines. That would be very special.”
A three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, Marcial was a silver medalist in the Aiba World Championships and booked his ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he ruled the Asia and Oceania Olympic Qualification.
Roach put Marcial through four rounds of mitts and sent him to work on the heavy bag and speed bag.
Marcial was ecstatic after the short workout.
“Freddie Roach is a boxing legend in the Philippines and to think I am now training with him,” Marcial said “It’s a dream come true.”
“[W]orking out with Freddie was a great learning experience. I cannot wait to return for our next session.”
And morale-wise, the workout was a great first step for Marcial.
“I felt like I was walking in Manny’s footsteps when Freddie was giving me the tour of the original part of Wild Card and telling me stories about training with Manny. To see the Philippines flag so prominently displayed made me very proud.”
Pretty soon, Marcial hopes to be running in Pacquiao’s footsteps up Griffith Park too.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.