by Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade and eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao sparred five rounds on Saturday against rugged Russian welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov and did well.
Strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza told the Manila Standard that the sparring “went well. It was a short sparring session and Manny looks good, he looks sharp. But its always like this before a fight. Its just a matter of doing the right things on the night of the fight.”
Ariza sounded relieved when he said the problem of cramps in Pacquiao’s legs were not bothering him anymore. He said “we are doing everything and taking extra precautions. I don’t want to even say we are doing anything special because we’ve been doing all this stuff before but now we are taking the time to warm up the legs, focus on the lower legs just to get everything right. We are more efficiently well-rounded as far as preparing the lower part of his body before he starts working out.”
Ariza said Pacquiao’s change in lifestyle where he has given up late nights, drinking and engaging in other vices has definitely helped. He said Pacquiao “is now not waking up early morning and thinking oh now I have to go face Alex. In those days he’d say hey I’ll do whatever he wants. But now he goes to bed early now he says I rested, I took care of myself and Alex is the worst thing I have to think about.”
Two reigning Filipino world champions WBO flyweight champion Brian Viloria and WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” are confident that Pacquiao will beat undefeated world junior lightweight champion Timoth “Desert Storm” Bradley in their showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9.
Viloria who watched Pacquiao train predicted the boxing icon and crossover superstar would win by “a technical knockout in either the 9th or 10th round” adding that Pacquiao “is really strong.”
Donaire told the Manila Standard that because he is deep into sparring in preparation for his first WBO super bantamweight title defense against IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa on July 7 at the Home Depot Center in California, he may not be able to watch the Pacquiao-Bradley fight .
However, Donaire said “definitely Pacquiao’s speed is the key to him winning this fight. He’s got plenty of experience and the advantage he has is power.”
He said Pacquiao “needs to know his distance and not over commit which Bradley can take advantage of but if he (Pacquiao) is in shape as he always has, he can definitely put on a performance.”
Donaire conceded that Bradley “is young, he’s hungry and if he has a good game plan it could be hard for Manny. But I think Manny’s speed, power and experience and he doesn’t over-commit, that’s the key to dominating him (Bradley). ”