MANILA — Strength and conditioning trainer Marvin Somodio might still join Manny Pacquiao’s training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Somodio, who has taken over the job of prodigal trainer Alex Ariza, was denied permission to proceed to the United States by the U.S. Embassy last Monday.
A staffer of the Sarangani Congressman’s office in Manila said that the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion’s Canadian adviser Michael Koncz is appealing Somodio’s case in the U.S.
“I talked to Mr. Koncz right after Somodio’s application for a visa was denied and he (Koncz) told me to tell Marvin that an appeal is being prepared for him to acquire a working visa,” Ryan Ursua, in charge of Pacquiao office’s travel requirements, told this writer.
“The result of the appeal will be forwarded here in Manila and if the decision is positive, Marvin will immediately fly to L.A.,” he assured.
Ursua explained that Somodio was made to apply for a tourist visa to facilitate the 28-year-old’s travel since he is badly needed to oversee the eight-division champ’s conditioning training in the final leg of his preparation in L.A.
“Applying for a working permit would entail precious time, so Marvin was made to apply for a tourist visa instead and apply for a working permit when he gets to the U.S.,” Ursua said.
Had Somodio, a member of the Shape Up boxing stable’s coaching staff in Baguio and a three-year understudy of chief trainer Freddie Roach, been granted a visa, he could have taken Monday’s flight to L.A. and re-join the team in the start of Pacquiao’s training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
In Somodio’s absence, Ariza, who abandoned the Baguio camp three weeks ago to help world middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez prepare for an upcoming fight, meanwhile, took over his former job Monday.
The Chavez fight against Andy Lee supposedly 10 days after Pacquiao shall have fought Timothy Bradley, however, was aborted, in what could have paved the way for him to return back to the graces of Team Pacquiao.
And even after overseeing Pacquiao’s roadwork Monday morning and presiding over the conditioning regimen later in the day, Ariza’s fate still hung in the air.
There were reports that Pacquiao and Ariza had talked twice before Monday’s training session, but no one has yet to be authorized to officially announce whether the Pacman will rehire the Colombian conditioning guru.
Roach, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer who also owns the Wild Card gym, expressed belief that Ariza would be back, adding Pacquiao’s compassion would prevail over his anger on Ariza’s abandoning the camp at the height of preparations.
“Manny’s too kind to his people. He’s too compassionate that I can see no reason why Alex would not be back,” Roach said.