BAGUIO CITY, Philippines -- Freddie Roach is no longer pushing Manny Pacquiao as hard as he used to.
In fact, Roach said he’d be cutting down on the number of sparring rounds as Pacquiao enters the last six weeks of training for his Nov. 13 showdown with Antonio Margarito in Arlington, Texas.
After six days in this cold City of Pines, Pacquiao has logged eight rounds of sparring – four with Glen Tapia last Thursday and another four with Michael Medina yesterday at the Shape Up Gym.
A couple more sparring partners, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Vanes Martirosyan, both standing six feet, are coming in anytime.
Sparring should have started last Tuesday but Roach found no need and pushed it to Thursday.
“I decided it was too early to spar last Tuesday,” he said.
“You know last fight we had 160 rounds of sparring. We still have seven weeks here. I actually don’t want to get 160 rounds of sparring here. I don’t think he needs that anymore,” said Roach.
The magic number for the Margarito fight, a big one considering that the Mexican is more than six inches taller than the 5-foot-6 Pacquiao, could be just a little over a hundred.
“We’ll be shooting for a hundred to 110. Manny already has all the experience. I don’t want to burn him out,” said Roach.
But that may be so much easier said than done because Pacquiao is known for his boundless energy, and has this habit of always asking for more, whether with the mitts or sparring.
“Everything is still negotiable,” said Roach.
Pacquiao sparred four rounds with Medina yesterday, and for a couple of times had the fighter as tall as Margarito in deep trouble. After the session, he wore a few scratches on his face.
It was late in the third round when Pacquiao caught Medina with some solid shots, and the Mexican super-welterweight seemed ready to go. But he managed to hold on until the bell sounded.
Tapia was on standby, ready to be tapped, and Medina had already taken his protective gear off when Roach decided to give him one more round with the world’s hardest-hitting boxer.
“I’ve never sparred against a guy like Pacquiao,” Medina said later on, adding that he tried to pin the FIlipino icon on the ropes but just couldn’t because of his tremendous footwork.
“I just can’t,” said Medina.