MANNY Pacquiao is set to start his strength and conditioning exercises on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) and plans to begin sparring on Thursday, according to his conditioning coach, Alex Ariza.
In a report carried by Philboxing.com, Ariza said Pacquiao "looks sharp" and looks like "he didn’t take time out" after his 12th round technical knockout win over Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last November.
For the last two days, Pacquiao worked out at trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, doing several rounds on the mitts, as he geared up for his March 13 title defense against Joshua Clottey of Ghana at the $1.2 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Philboxing.com also reported that former Philippine broadcaster Hermie Rivera, who is now based in California, had a talk with Roach and quoted him as saying: "Pretty good on the first day. No problem at all. He was punching hard. He’s weighing 149 pounds right now. Perfect for the agreed upon welterweight limit (of 147 pounds)."
Roach also told Rivera that Clottey "will be aggressive. He’ll try to kill us. He comes forward, he’s strong and he fights. That’s what he does. It’s not a problem. I’m reviewing tapes on how Clottey handles lefties.
"If a knockout comes that would be our bonus but I’ll be getting ready for twelve hard rounds," the report added.
The report also said promoter Bob Arum had told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that 20,000 tickets of a planned 40,000 had already been sold in the first three hours of public ticket sales. Tickets range from $50 to $700.
Clottey, meanwhile, was reportedly set to fly home to Accra, the capital of Ghana, to speak to US Embassy officials and try to facilitate the renewal of the visas of his trainer, Godwin Nii Dzanie Koet and assistant Daniel Clottey which expired in November last year.