BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – It looks like Amir Khan will end up sparring with Manny Pacquiao.
The reigning WBA light-welterweight champion yesterday said trainer Freddie Roach told him to be ready because any day from now he might be thrown in to spar with the Filipino superstar.
Khan, a British-Pakistani, has been up in Baguio for more than a week now. He came in to train under Roach for his fight with Argentinian Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas.
But Roach could be thinking of putting him in the ring with Pacquiao because Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has reportedly decided against coming over to help Pacquiao in his sparring sessions.
“Next week we’ll be having sparring with Manny, so Freddie Roach told me to get my timing and condition before stepping into the ring,” Khan said.
Pacquiao is into his third week of sparring with Mexico’s Michael Medina and Glen Tapia. They did eight rounds the other day and may spar the same number today.
Armenian Vanes Martirosyan (28-0 with 17 KOs) might also come in as a sparring partner.
Roach said he’s cutting down on the number of sparring rounds for Pacquiao for the coming fight with Antonio Margarito. From a high of 160 in his previous fights, Pacquiao may be limited to just 110 this time.
Khan, with 23 wins (17 KOs) and a loss, ran eight rounds with Pacquiao on the Philippine Sports Commission track oval at Teachers Camp yesterday morning.
Then he said, “Since I arrived last week I already started conditioning to get into shape.”
Roach had ordered closed-door sparring workouts for Pacquiao as they enter the last four weeks of training, and even those who regularly work out at the Shape Up Gym of the Cooyeesan Plaza are finding it difficult to get in.
While security at the Cooyeesan Shape-Up Boxing gym has been strict to members of media, employees and even close friends of those associated with Shape-Up just simply can sneak into the gym where Pacquiao and his entourage are currently training.
Top Rank big boss Bob Arum is scheduled to arrive in Manila from Las Vegas today, and be at the City of Pines just in time for Monday’s media day with the 31-year-old Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao has become Benguet’s “adopted son” through a resolution by the Benguet provincial board as “Boxing Icon of Benguet”.
Its author, board member Nelson Dangwa, said Pacquiao’s work ethic and training habit are worth emulating for aspiring boxers in the Mountain Province.
Dangwa added that “there are a lot of boxers in Benguet who have strived in this training habit but along the way vices intervened in their training life and career as professional boxers.”