By Nick Giongco
Somewhere in Los Angeles, a South African conditioning coach is plotting the destruction of boxing’s pound-for-pound king. Phil Landman, tasked to turn Miguel Cotto into a menacing fighting machine against Manny Pacquiao come Nov. 14, is itching to fly to Puerto Rico to begin serious work with that Caribbean nation’s most beloved fighter. “We expect a very tough fight and we will train hard for a 12-round fight,” the 37-year-old Landman told the Manila Bulletin and Fightnews on Friday.
Cotto is Landman’s only client who is a boxer and the fitness guru is convinced they have to step a few notch above the normal training program to enhance Cotto’s chances of scoring a mighty upset at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Pacquiao is a fast guy,” said Landman, who will be working for Cotto for the ninth straight time stretching back to late-2006. “This will be very close battle.”
While the fight plan rests solely on the hands of chief trainer Joe Santiago, the role of Landman in Cotto’s corner is equally as crucial since he is not only responsible for making sure the boxer is in top physical shape by the time the bell rings but is in charge as well of Cotto’s nutrition and food intake.
Since the agreed weight is 145 lbs, Landman might even tweak Cotto’s diet a bit to guarantee that he doesn’t only make the weight but maintain his strength in doing so.
“It’s (making 145 lbs) going to be a challenge but in the end, we’ll make it,” said Landman, who also divulged his plans of using “a lot of plyometrics“, a form of high-grade exercise routines usually meant for high-performance athletes like Cotto.
Landman added that Cotto weighs between “160 to 165 lbs” when not in training and Cotto could have weighed that much when he showed up for the first day of his training early this week in Puerto Rico wearing a black-colored body-hugging sweatsuit.
Still, Landman is not alarmed by the presence of excess baggage since the fight is more than three months away, noting that Cotto is a very disciplined athlete.