Pacquiao Begins Sparring For Hatton Fight - "Pac-Man" Looks Vicious, Cuts And Knocks Down Spar-Mate

manny pacquiaoby James Slater - With around six weeks to go until fight night, Manny Pacquiao has begun sparring for his May 2nd meeting with Ring magazine light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton. And, according to reports coming out of The Wild Card Gym in LA, the Filipino southpaw looked nothing short of sensational in day one of his sparring.

Conditioning coach Alex Ariza told Inside Sports that day-one of sparring was "very exciting." Working with the pound-for-pound king was unbeaten pro Art Hovhannesyan, a 7-0-1(2) lightweight Ariza describes as "a very tough, rugged Armenian."

When the two fighters got down to work, however, Pacquiao wasted no time in coming out in an aggressive manner, letting both hands go. "Pac-Man" dropped the 27-year-old in the 2nd round of the spar session, and then cut him over the left eye in the 4th round - forcing the session to be stopped..

Manny knows Hovhannesyan well, having used him to get ready for his previous mega-fight, against Oscar De La Hoya - which he of course won in sensational style. Now the young and unbeaten fighter is ready to take some more pain in helping to get the best fighter on the planet in tip-top fighting shape for his next big fight.

Ariza described the early sparring of the fighter he conditions in more detail.

"Hovhannesyan was around 147-150-pounds, and Manny hit him with a straight left and he went down," Ariza said. "Manny then caught him with what looked like an uppercut and that opened a cut that ended the sparring at about two minutes into the fourth round. He [Pacquiao] looks very strong.

"I've always said that at 140-pounds, he won't struggle to make weight. There are no diet issues and Manny is just so strong now. I knew he would be lethal at 140."

Aside from his first go at sparring for the Hatton fight, the 30-year-old southpaw has looked good in his other preparations, such as his strength and conditioning work - as Ariza explained.

"He did very well with that (his strength and conditioning work)," Ariza said. "He looks strong, almost like the De La Hoya fight."

Freddie Roach, Manny's main trainer, added that he put his fighter through a full fifteen rounds on the punch-mitts, and at the end of it he was the one who felt tired!

Of course, no-one should be at all surprised Manny is training with such passion and venom - his desire is as real now as it has ever been. Sure, Ricky Hatton will be busy pushing himself also; and the fans can expect to see two perfectly honed fighting men in the ring in Las Vegas in May as a result.

Article posted on 19.03.2009

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