MANILA, Philippines – Boxing promoter Bob Arum witnessed his prized fighter Manny Pacquiao go toe-to-toe with taller sparring partners on Saturday as the country's boxing congressman stepped up his preparation for his super welterweight bout against Mexican toughie Antonio Margarito.
Arum said it looked like Pacquiao was not yet giving his all against sparring partners Glen Tapia of the US and Michael Medina of Mexico.
The Top Rank CEO said this was an indication that Pacquiao was saving his best for the November 13 fight.
"At this point, you don't wanna turn it on, because you've got to save it for the fight," said Arum.
Arum said the size disparity between Pacquiao and Margarito, as seen in his sessions with taller sparring partners, will definitely pose problems for the Filipino champion.
"That's gonna be a problem fighting a tall guy like Margarito because he has to punch up, so that's not gonna be easy," said Arum.
Pacquiao's training partners think otherwise.
"It's not gonna bother him. He's good. It's natural for him," said Tapia.
“The skill of Manny is going to break that [height] advantage," said Medina.
On Saturday, Pacquiao first sparred Tapia for 5 rounds, followed by 4 rounds with Medina.
Arum said that despite his opponents’ longer reach, Pacquiao gave a "satisfactory" performance.
"All in all, it's good. Most of it is satisfactory," said the veteran promoter.
"It’s nine rounds. It’s okay," said Pacquiao’s boxing coach, Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao said that he has already achieved their target levels for stamina and punching power.
The Filipino champion said they now have to work on his timing.
“Medyo mabagal ng konti yung reaksyon ng katawan at mga punches. Last three weeks, focus kami sa speed," said the lone representative of Sarangani province.
(The reaction of my body to punches is still slow. In the last three weeks, we’ll be focusing on speed.)
Pacquiao and Margarito will be fighting for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title.
The fight will take place at the $1.3 billion-Cowboys Stadium in Texas. -- With a report from Rene Casibang, ABS-CBN News