Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roach eases up on Pacquiao sparring

Clottey vs PacquiaoMANILA, Philippines - Freddie Roach is not taking Joshua Clottey lightly but has ordered Manny Pacquiao to slow down when it comes to sparring.

He said the Filipino pound-for-pound champion, who will stake his WBO welterweight crown against Clottey on March 13 in Texas, won’t need as many as 150 rounds of sparring this time.

In his previous fights, if not in all of his big fights, he logged more or less 150 rounds of sparring over eight weeks. This time, the four-time Trainer of the Year said they’re going for less.

“We don’t need that many rounds,” said Roach in an interview with GMA-7 at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where Pacquiao has been training for more than two weeks now.

They still have less than five weeks before the fight, and Pacquiao has logged 32 rounds of sparring so far. Roach is impressed with Pacquiao’s condition that he wants him to slow down.

“We’re sharp from the last fight (against Miguel Cotto last November),” said the chief trainer, who was surprised that Pacquiao reported to the gym a couple of weeks ago at 147 lb, just on the dot.

There will be no catchweight for the Clottey fight, and if Pacquiao weighs in at exactly 147 lb, Roach doesn’t want him to go over 150 by the time he climbs the ring at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington,

“We don’t need 150 rounds (of sparring) for this fight – maybe about a hundred, maybe 110, somewhere in that neighborhood,” said Roach. It will be the first time Pacquiao will go that low in sparring.

Still, Roach would surely expect the same result on fight night.

“We will knock him out,” he said of Clottey, who’s never been knocked out in his career spiked with 35 wins and three controversial losses. He’s now in Florida training for the biggest fight of his life.

Pacquiao spars on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and over the last few days has been so impressive that he has practically toyed with everybody thrown at him, from Brian Brooks to Jose Benavidez, Ray Beltran and Mike Dallas.

Benavidez is the 2009 Golden Gloves light-welterweight champion. He’s only 17 and stands 5-foot-11, but when ranged against Pacquiao, for only two rounds, it looked like he needs a little more time before he could spar with the Pinoy champ again.


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