By James Slater: With a little over seven weeks to go until he climbs into the ring for his third eagerly awaited battle with Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, Pound-for-Pound king Manny Pacquiao has already started sparring.
According to an interesting news article that has appeared on Inquirer Sports, Pac-Man surprised even head-trainer Freddie Roach when, just three days into his training camp for the November 12th bout, his star fighter asked if he could spar a few rounds with Venezuela’s Jorge Linares. Linares, who will face Antonio DeMarco for the vacant WBC lightweight title on the big Las Vegas card, sparred four hard rounds with the 32-year-old mega star.
Linares was so impressed with the way Pacquiao looked in the sessions that he gave a bold prediction shortly afterwards: that Pacquiao will halt “Dinamita” in the third fight – inside “four or five-rounds.”
While assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez also had nothing but great things to say about Pac-Man’s abilities in camp at this early stage.
“He’s on fire,” Fernandez said. “Never in our previous camps has he improved so fast. And the results are good, so we’re giving in to what he wants.”
Hence the early sparring Pac-Man asked for being granted. Often, trainers will desist from having their fighters spar too many rounds, as well as preventing them from beginning sparring too early on in a camp, so as not to risk the fighter “leaving it in the gym.” But Roach and the rest of Team-Pacquiao clearly feel Manny is in no risk from early and hard sparring.
Roach has gone on record as saying that only a KO win will do on November 12th. Roach wants no further close points wins over the 38-year-old Mexican who pushed Pac-Man all the way in two previous encounters. Roach wants his star to close the show on this series with an emphatic, no chance for debate, knockout. And Manny is already feeling the urge to throw leather at a live body.
Pacquiao and Linares will almost certainly spar more rounds in the coming weeks, perhaps when Pac-Man arrives in L.A for the second half of his training camp. Both fighters will obviously be in fantastic shape for their respective bouts on the potentially great Nov. 12th card. Pac-Man is sure to also spar with 140-pound champ Amir Khan. Either way you look at it, that’s great preparation.
I wonder who Marquez will choose as his spar-mates for the third, crucial encounter with the Filipino dynamo?