Friday, February 5, 2010

Pacquiao shifts training to high gear

Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao stepped up his training for his coming March 13 title defense against Ghana’s Joshua Clottey who, he described, is big, strong and dangerous.

Pacquiao’s diet and conditioning consultant Alex Ariza said Wednesday from Los Angeles that PacMan is “very sharp and looks like he’ll be ready to fight next week.”

Ariza said Pacquiao sparred seven rounds Tuesday and is expected to do seven or eight rounds on Thursday (Friday in Manila) at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California.

Pacquiao went three rounds with unbeaten junior welterweight Mike Dallas, two rounds with Brian Brook and another two rounds with Jose Benavidez, a speedy junior welterweight.

“Manny is doing absolutely great in training, and Freddie [Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer] is satisfied at the level we are in now,” said Ariza who also works as the renowned trainer’s assistant.

Ariza said he is focusing on strength at his stage of Pacquiao’s conditioning regimen, then top it all up with speed exercises as training camp tapers off, to maximize the Filipino icon’s deadly combination power and explosiveness.

Ariza thinks Pacquiao-Clottey “could be even better” than PacMan’s previous fight when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the final round to win the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown, Pacquiao’s record seventh world title in as many weight divisions.

Pacquiao’s bodyguard Rob Peters said the Filipino fighter is always in “good spirit” during his daily workouts.

“When you see Manny in such a cheerful mood during training, you know that he’s peaking nicely,” said Peters. “Manny is always in good spirit, and he makes training camp look so easy, which is very, very rigorous.”

Peter said the few Team Pacquiao members who are privileged to see Pacquiao train behind closed doors are amazed at how focused he is during his Monday-to-Saturday training and still remain cheerful and playful.

Pacquiao said he considers the taller and bigger Clottey dangerous because at stake in their fight is not just his WBO welterweight crown but also his mythical title as the best boxer in the world pound-for-pound.

”Clottey knows that he has nothing to lose in this fight . . . but I know he will try to do everything to score an upset,” Pacquiao wrote in Filipino Wednesday in his weekly tabloid column.

“That’s why I need to show that I’m the best in the world, come up with another masterpiece in the ring and to win convincingly.”


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