BAGUIO CITY — Manny Pacquiao is "100 percent" in the punch mitts session but is only "50 percent" in sparring, top trainer Freddie Roach said on Tuesday.
But Roach remains confident that when they head back to the Wild Card in Hollywood, the Filipino pound-for-pound king would be in his element, punishing just about anyone put in front of him in sparring as the buildup for his Nov. 13 battle with Antonio Margarito takes a major step.
"We'll get by," said Roach just before Pacquiao sparred with Glen Tapia and Michael Medina behind closed doors, allowing only a few, like Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, to watch the action.
Roach said this week and the coming week in the US would be "a big week for sparring" and the "toughtest two weeks of training camp."
"We are getting better and better," said the 50-year-old Roach, who still believes his fighter will have too much speed and ammunition to stave off the Mexican's challenge.
Team Pacquiao is slated to leave for the US this Saturday night and plans to motor down to Manila as soon as the weather permits.
Roach had initially wanted to go to Manila last Sunday for fear that the weather would hold them here and endanger their departure for Los Angeles.
As of Tuesday afternoon, howling winds and heavy rains were still being felt here and Roach shook his head when told about the possibility of being stranded in this mountain resort city.
"I told them we should have left Sunday but..." said Roach.
Once they set up camp in Manila, Pacquiao will work out at the Elorde Gym in Quezon City, venue of the first week of training.
Told about the seemingly wonderful time Margarito is having in his own training camp in Oxnard, California, Roach was convinced the 5-11 Margarito is indeed peaking just in time.
"He’s in great shape. He’s training like an animal," said Roach, who predicts that the fight will not go 12 rounds and that Pacquiao win on a late-round stoppage.
Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin