BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – After a good day of sparring last Thursday, Manny Pacquiao worked even harder on and off the ring yesterday.
The pound-for-pound champion was out early in the morning for a 30-minute run inside one of the golf courses here, and by 2 p.m. he was at the Shape Up Gym for a rigorous two-hour workout.
Pacquiao was limbering up when he said his body was aching as a result of four rounds of sparring with Glen Tapia, pointing to his legs, his arms and body, and saying “it just aches all over.”
But it didn’t really show when he worked the mitts with Freddie Roach for 14 rounds non-stop.
Roach tried to mimic Pacquiao’s opponent on Nov. 13, Antonio Margarito, and paid dearly for it when he took a couple of shots from the heavy-handed southpaw, who sometimes went after him like he was out to put him down.
At one point, Pacquiao accidentally landed a punch right on his trainer’s face, but was quick to apologize. Roach, a former fighter himself, simply laughed it off, later saying he’s gotten used to getting hit nowadays.
“Yeah, he got me there,” said Roach, who a few days ago, at the Elorde Gym in Quezon City, hit the canvas after getting caught with a hard shove and lost his balance.
Roach said Pacquiao will spar with Michael Medina today before motoring to Manila for his daughter’s birthday before sundown. He promised to be back late Sunday so he could resume working out on Monday.
“He also said he misses his job,” said Roach of the fighting congressman from lone district of Sarangani. “I really thought of giving him a day off tomorrow because of all the hard work but now we need to work.”
Roach is just making sure that if Pacquiao overstays in Manila, there won’t be too much of a lull.
“Breaks are over,” said his strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Overall, however, Roach is happy with the way the camp is going.
“It’s just our fifth day here in Baguio and I like it where we are right now. Glen Tapia did very, very good in sparring yesterday. He fights like Margarito with his right and he’s cocky,” said Roach.
“And he tried to get the best out of Manny yesterday. I love that because Manny will pay him back. I will give Medina a shot tomorrow. And I see another good day of sparring,” added the celebrated trainer.
His face was red as Baguio tomatoes after the non-stop session with the mitts, and often- times he was heard telling Pacquiao what kind of a fighter Margarito is, and how he should be handled.
They worked a lot on throwing punches from different angles, and how to get out of the ropes once the moment he touches them, how to avoid getting clipped by Margarito’s elbows, or by a headbutt.
“Remember, he’s not always pressing. Sometimes he’ll wait for you so he can give something in return. And I don’t want you to fall into the trap,” said Roach, adding that he spent a lot of time the other day watching Margarito’s fights.
He said he saw eight of those fights, including four against southpaws, and noticed a very strong similarity in each of them.
“When he throws, he throws wide. And he needs to set up with his legs,” observed Roach, confident that Pacquiao will get the 5-foot-11 Mexican even before he could throw his punches.
“We’ll knock him out,” Roach promised.
Abac Cordero, Philippine Star