By Ronnie Nathanielsz
BAGUIO CITY—Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao concluded his two-week Baguio City training camp and pronounced himself 50 to 60 percent ready.
Pacquiao defends his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against undefeated light welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 9.
The Filipino champ went a total of six rounds Thursday against Russian sparring partners Ruslan Provodnikov (21-1, 14 KOs) and Rustan Nugayev (22-6-1, 12KOs), ending four days and a total of 20 rounds of sparring.
The Fighter of the Decade looked impressive against Provodnikov in the first round, nailing him with solid combinations and stinging uppercuts before he eased up in the next three rounds.
Asked by the Manila Standard about trainer Freddie Roach’s concern that the fire in him is missing and his increasingly compassionate attitude toward his opponents was showing, Pacquiao responded by saying “The fire will return at the right time.”
Roach said that the real hard work will begin at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles on Monday.
He further agreed with Pacquiao’s claim that he was only about 50-60 percent ready, but pointed out that it was only their fourth day of sparring. Roach also noted that Pacquiao “is looking good in spots here and there. We need to get a little more fire.”
The celebrated trainer believes that when Pacquiao resumes sparring in Los Angeles, where he has two more sparring partners waiting for him, things will change.
“The sparring partners are both tough, mean kids. They are not going to touch gloves with him and they are going to force Manny to fight,” said Roach, who set aside concerns about the fire within. “He always performs for me and I’m sure the fire will come and he’ll be okay. But if it’s a little bit more, I’ll be happy. Bradley will force him to fight. If he (Bradley) hurts him, maybe he’ll open up.”
Pacquiao will motor down to Manila in a convoy later today and will resume training at the MP Towers Gym Friday and Saturday before departing for Los Angeles.