Manny Pacquiao looks sharp in recent sparring sessions
MANILA, Philippines – “Vamos!” “Mucho rapido!”
Manny Pacquiao’s Spanish vocabulary may not be that comprehensive, but he knew the message he wanted to convey to Adrian Young. After taking a day off Wednesday, Pacquiao wanted to get to work double-time on Thursday, June 1, and for 10 rounds showed his best sparring work so far in preparation for his July 2 fight against Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Young (23-3-2, 18 knockouts) had just arrived in the Philippines from Mexico at 6:00 a.m. Monday after 23 hours of travel, and first sparred Pacquiao on Tuesday. It’s unlikely he’d ever seen anything like Pacquiao before touching down in Manila, as Pacquiao used the sudden, erratic footwork one might see in an Allen Iverson crossover to set up punches from awkward angles. Young backed to the ropes instinctively, as if to eliminate at least one less vantage point to be attacked from.
After sparring four rounds between two three-round outings from local fighters Leonardo Doronio and Sonny Katiandagho, he was all praises for the 38-year-old WBO welterweight titleholder.
“Manny is a great fighter, he’s the best,” said Young, 24, of Los Mochis, Mexico. “He’s very [fast] but when he punches it’s strong. His legs are very fast, and he’s muy bueno.”
The worst was reserved for Katiandagho, as one particular left cross from Pacquiao between the guard of Katiandagho drew covered-mouth gasps from the couple dozen of spectators around the ring to witness the sparring. Pacquiao then landed the same straight left twice afterwards, but didn’t follow up on Katiandagho as he was against the ropes.
Former two-division champion Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. turned to this writer to utter something to the effect that Horn wasn’t ready for the form Pacquiao was in just a month before fight night.
Pacquiao finished up with 10 rounds on the mitts with Roach before finishing up on the heavy bag, double-end bag and speed bag, and jumping some rope.
Pacquiao is set to leave the Metro Manila area on Sunday to fly south to his hometown of General Santos City to finish up training, then will head to Australia on June 24, he says.
When asked why he wanted to pack up his entire team for a few weeks, only to relocate them again shortly after, Pacquiao said “I like to train in GenSan.”