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PACQUIAO STARTS SPARRING


PhilBoxing.com




MANILA (PNA) - A four-round sparring session against former amateur standout and regional title holder Anthony Marcial gave 'Fighter of the Decade' Manny Pacquiao his first taste of action atop the ring with an opponent following a little over four months in hibernation since he last fought Monday at the People's Champ gym in General Santos City.

It was a light skirmish though but enough to give Pacquiao the feel of having someone in the opposite side of the square arena since he started preparing for his coming fight with long-time nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8 in Las Vegas.

"Okay naman ang first sparring ko kahit na medyo asiwa pa at parang kalalawangin," Pacquiao told People's Journal in a long distance telephone interview after sweating it out Monday afternoon.

"Alalay lang muna kasi baka mabigla. Matagal na natigil at baka madisgrasya pa," assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez who has been overseeing the Pacman's training since Pacquiao opened camp in the city where he grew up, said.

"This is not naman the crucial stage of preparations. Sa Los Angeles pa sa Wild Card Gym ang talagang serious camp. Dito sa GenSan kumbaga parang pahiyang lang para pagdating sa Wild Card eh hindi tayo nangangapa," Pacquiao, for his part, said.

Marcial does not necessary reflect the fighting style of Marquez, who Pacman is facing for the fourth time, but according to the eight-division champion he is the fighter nearest to the Mexican counterpuhcer.

"What is important is malakas manuntok si Marcial, which is actually what we need at this stage of preparations," Fernandez said. "Counterpuncher din, pero hindi pa naman yun ang kailangan natin."

"What we need is to prepare Manny for whatever hard grind that await him when he gets to Freddie (Roach) sa LA. " Fernandez reasoned out. "We will be increasing the volume before the end of this week."

Besides sparring Pacquiao also worked the mitts with Fernandez for several rounds, before finishing Monday's session doing the usual heavy bag, double end ball and the speed ball.

Like in the past three weeks, Pacquiao, likewise, did roadwork at the General Santos City Sports Center oval for stamina building. Team Pacquiao was supposed to fly to LA last October 8 yet, but due to pressing matters in his duty as Congressman in the lone district of Sarngani, their departure was moved twice before finally diceded they have to fly to that California City this coming Saturday.

"Tuloy na sa October 27 kasi yung date na yun dapat nasa Wild Card na. Wala nang delay ito. By that time kasi, six weeks na lang ang nalalabi sa ensayo," he assured. "Pag na-delay pa, masyado nang malaki ang atraso," the 33-year-old ring idol said.

As for chief trainer Freddie Roach, the little delay in Pacquiao's arrival in LA won't have any ill effects in his training schedule.

"It's okay with me. Just in time for the hard work," he said in separate interview. "We still have plenty of time to catchup.

Asked when he and his team will proceed to Manila, Pacquiao retorted: "Siguro Thursday or Saturday para tuloy-tuloy sakay na sa eroplano."

(File photo – Pacquiao sparring at the Wild Card Gym last June)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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