by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao got down to business at the Wild Card Gym of Freddie Roach in Los Angeles yesterday after going through his medical examinations following a run in the morning of Thursday (Manila Time) at Griffith Park.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that Pacquiao sparred a total of eight rounds including four rounds with former world lightweight champion Steve Forbes and four rounds with his initial sparring partner, undefeated Lydell Rhodes (19-0, 9 KO’s).
Trainer Freddie Roach wanted Forbes as one of Pacquiao’s chief sparring partners because he was “intelligent and a good boxer” while Rhodes who replicates the style of WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley was recognized by Pacquiao for his contribution in sparring.
Koncz said that after sparring which he described as “good”, Pacquiao went through his usual tough routine which included six rounds on the punch-mitts with Roach.
Meantime, Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz has indicated he is very happy with the way his fighter’s training camp is going in the build-up to the riveting rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 12 where both Pacquiao and Bradley are seeking redemption in what is being referred to as “unfinished business.”
Pacquiao wants to erase the highly controversial and widely assailed split decision loss from his record with an impressive win while Bradley aims to prove, his first win over the fighting pride of the Philippines was no fluke.
Boxing Scene quoted Diaz who said Bradley “is looking very sharp. The big difference is that now Bradley walks around at 155 pounds and that has allowed us to focus on the fight and the strategy” pointing out that in the last fight with Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez, Bradley had risen to 185 pounds.
Diaz conceded “we know it wil be a tough fight but this time we are looking to win clearly” adding that Pacquiao’s “only chance is if he knocks Bradley out, but that won’t be easy.”
The trainer added “what I am sure of is that if he does not knock Bradley out, then Bradley is going to hurt him.”