MANILA, Philippines — Manny Pacquiao “played a bit too much” in logging 10 rounds of sparring Saturday afternoon, chief trainer Freddie Roach said after presiding over the Filipino fighter’s final workout in the country, a little over three weeks before the Nov. 13 collision with Antonio Margarito in Dallas.
Team Pacquiao was scheduled to leave for Los Angeles Saturday night and Roach is looking forward to the start of training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood this Monday.
“I am closing the (Wild Card) gym from 12 noon to 5 p.m.,” said Roach, obviously pissed that there were simply too many people inside the Elorde Gym during the sparring with Amir Khan and Michael Medina.
Pacquiao did three rounds with Medina, had four with Khan and had another three with Medina before doing the other gym staples.
Roach said he expects the atmosphere at the Wild Card to be a lot serious than the ones he had seen in Manila and even in Baguio where he spent four weeks with the 31-year-old Pacquiao.
Pacquiao had his moments during the intense session with the world super-lightweight champion Khan, who gave a good account of himself against the world’s No. 1 boxer.
“Manny just loves to play,” said Roach, who did not sound very alarmed that Pacquiao has been taking it nice and easy.
“By fight time, we will be there,” said Roach.
Khan and Medina also defended Pacquiao’s antics, saying it’s hard and even not right to judge a mere sparring session.
“You don’t give your 100 percent in sparring,” said Khan. “Manny has speed and power and he will beat Margarito by late-round stoppage or 12-round decision.”
Khan theorized that “Manny could have taken it easy with me today.”
Medina echoed the same sentiments, saying Pacquiao remains topnotch.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao said he would be happy to face Floyd Mayweather before Filipino fight fans in what is likely to become a sequel to the epic 1975 Thrilla in Manila but clarified that staging such an ambitious promotion would depend on whether the country has what it takes to match Las Vegas' outlandish ways.
“Ang tanong ay kung kaya ba ng bulsa natin,” said Pacquiao when asked about fighting again on local soil. "Talagang gusto ko ulit na lumaban sa harap ng ating mga kababayan pero talagang malaki ang budget na kailangan para dyan."
Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin