Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Are Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partners better than Chris Algieri?

Photo by Ryan Songalia

Photo by Ryan Songalia

On a conference call to discuss Pacquiao’s upcoming clash with Chris Algieri, Freddie Roach suggested that this particular training camp in General Santos City in the Philippines has been the best ever.

Although these statements have become rather clich├® in the boxing world for trainers as their fighter prepares for their next bout, Roach’s proclamation isn’t without warrant. The reasoning lies behind the training partners that have been brought in to prepare Pacquiao for his Nov. 22 showdown.

Among his sparring partners are heavy hitting six-footer Mike Jones, a former welterweight title challenger who may be best known for his two wars with Jesus Soto Karass a couple years back, and unbeaten junior welterweight contender Viktor Postol, another six-footer who owns victories against Hank Lundy, DeMarcus Corley and recently scored an 11th-round knockout against Selcuk Aydin in May. With a 52-2 record between them, along with the fact that they are both taller than the 5-foot-10 Algeri, Roach figures that the preparation couldn’t be better.

“Mike Jones is a big puncher and Manny is doing very well with him,” Roach said of Manny’s sessions with the once beaten Jones. “Manny has hurt him a couple of times too. He’s shown good power so far and the intensity that I want.”

Jones, who is 26-2 with 19 of those wins coming by way of knockout, is known as a big puncher but hasn’t looked great in his last two fights against Randall Bailey and a shocking upset at the hands of unheralded Jaime Herrera. Regardless of those two losses, it can be argued that Jones’ credentials are greater than those of Algieri heading into this fight.

Postol has been on fire as of late and has an upcoming date with 140-pounc champ Danny Garcia penciled in. The rangy 30-year-old Ukrainian presents the perfect mix of size and height for Roach to craft his game plan around. His throttling of Aydin raised eyebrows across the boxing world and has certainly made him one to watch heading into 2015.

“Viktor is very smart and has been making Manny think, like Chris will,” Roach said while citing Pacquiao will be dealing with the second tallest opponent of his career who both moves well and possesses a great jab.

Nevertheless, to much of the boxing world, at least on paper, it appears that Pacquiao could have sparring partners who are better than Algieri. It’s a notion that Roach doesn’t shy away from, even if it downplays any danger that their Nov. 22 opponent might present.

“Sometimes the truth hurts,” says Roach.