Monday, February 8, 2010

Pacman a boxer they'd avoid sparring with

Pacquiao vs ClotteyMANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao is doing so well in sparring that he’s been toying with anybody thrown at him by his chief trainer Freddie Roach.

“He is already in good shape,” Roach said of the reigning pound-for-pound champion during a recent chat with

Pacquiao is in his second week of sparring at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and has logged a total of 32 rounds so far with five weeks left before his March 13 date with Josh Clottey at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Pacquiao has faced Brian Brooks, Jose Benavidez and old hand Ray Beltran in sparring. He did eight rounds yesterday, a few of them with undefeated light-welterweight Mike Dallas who, like the others, came out of the gym like he’s been to a real fight.

Benavidez is a 17-year-old, 5-foot-11 rookie pro, and the newest member of Team Roach. He did just two rounds with Pacquiao last week and left the famous Hollywood sweatshop like he’d never return again. But he will, and vowed to do better.

Roach is no longer surprised with the way Pacquiao’s handling training camp. They’ve been doing it for more than eight years now and, time and again, the four-time Trainer of the Year would say that the Pinoy icon trains like no other.

But he sounded a bit surprised that Pacquiao, after all the holidays and late night-outs back home, reported to the gym last Jan. 15 weighing around 147 lb, just the limit for the coming WBO welterweight clash with Clottey.

Again, Roach said they’ve given Pacquiao free access to the kitchen – a luxury not all fighters could enjoy.

“We have to keep his weight up and feed him five meals a day just to keep it up. He is doing great in sparing and we are studing his game plan as we watch Clottey tapes. He’s not ready to fight yet but we have about four and a half weeks left,” he said.

Clottey is about to begin the crucial part of his training in Florida.

Roach did not say how much time Pacquiao has spent watching Clottey’s fights because the 31-year-old WBO champion normally gets bored watching tapes of his opponents.

It’s Roach who spends more time on the couch of his new Los Angeles home.

“I have been studying him quite a bit now. He is very strong and has a good chin but he makes too many fundamental mistakes and I think Manny will be the first person to knock him out,” he said.

Clottey has never been knocked out in his life, winning 35 matches and losing only thrice, each one of them debatable.

“But we’ll knock him out,” Roach said.


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