By Ronnie Nathanielsz
With less than one week to go before he takes on Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao looked sharp in sparring and is ready to go.
Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that Pacquiao “looks good, looks sharp and looks ready to go, definitely.”
Pacquiao sparred four rounds with tough Frankie Gomez and another four rounds with one of the Roman twins in a training session that was watched by Pacquiao’s charming wife Jinkee.
Pacquiao also did a couple of rounds on the punch-mitts with Filipino trainer Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez who does a good job in making Pacquiao throw flurries of punches and move constantly.
Despite the sparring Ariza described the Saturday training at the Wild Card Gym of celebrated trainer Freddie Roach as “a light workout, not too bad” since Ariza has been advocating that Pacquiao “slowdown a little bit.”
Ariza told us he believes Pacquiao “knows what he wants to in his head. I’m sure he does. Go in there, target this guy (Marquez) , keep pushing, pushing, pressure, pressure. Don’t let this guy think.”
The strength and conditioning coach recalled that legendary Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Sr told him recently that Pacquiao should return to being “ a street fighter and let his hands go.”
Ariza remembers Chavez Sr telling him “the problem with Manny is he thinks too much and when he does some things he gives Marquez time. But when Manny loosens up and lets it go, Marquez looks lost. He didn't know what to do at times. That's Manny Pacquiao."
Chavez said, "You don't know what he's doing when he throws so many punches. You don't have time to figure and set up a counter punch because it's boom-boom-boom and its coming from everywhere."
The Mexican warrior noted when you see Pacquiao trying to do one thing, and step over here, step over there and this and that. That's not his style. His style is let your hands go and go after him."
Ariza quoted Chavez as telling him, "When Manny Pacquiao lets his hands go I don't believe there is anybody who can deal with that."
Pacquiao was a smash hit in Times Square as the Top Rank crew broadcast “live” on a seven stories tall screen in Times Square in New York City, an unprecedented training session of Pacquiao last Friday from the Wild Card Gym.