Manny Pacquiao shakes up Gonzalez on last sparring day for Broner fight
LOS ANGELES — With four rounds at the Wild Card Gym on Saturday, Manny Pacquiao closed the sparring leg of camp for the Adrien Broner fight.
Pacquiao, who faces Broner on January 19 at the MGM Grand, finished up with Arnold Gonzalez and didn’t have any marks on his face as he headed out to celebrate his wife Jinkee’s birthday.
Freddie Roach, who is returning to Pacquiao’s corner as a “consultant”, said they limited Pacquiao to about 150 rounds of sparring, instead of the typical 200-300 rounds he’d usually do for past camps.
“A lot less wear and tear. He just doesn’t need those long rounds anymore,” said Roach.
“There’s not a lot left I can teach him at this point. We’re just working on the strategy of how to beat the style we’re fighting.”
Gonzalez, a Harlem, N.Y.-based amateur who will make his pro debut next month in Rhode Island, admits he was feeling the shots from Pacquiao.
“Today Manny caught me with a left cross, I think it’s the hardest punch he’s caught me with the entire camp,” said Gonzalez. “His timing was amazing today, I think he’s 100% ready for the Broner fight.”
“He says that’s the first time I’ve ever been hurt before in my life,” added Roach.
After his training day had ended, the 40-year-old senator from the Philippines continued to burn off pent-up energy, shadowboxing around the ring, and showing off his Bruce Lee and basketball moves.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 knockouts) had also been working with unbeaten Australian contender George Kambosos Jr. and Lydell Rhodes, both of whom are returning sparring partners.
Roach says Pacquiao will not be sparring again on Monday, as had been the tradition in the past, before they head to Las Vegas on the team bus. He has liked what he’s seen, and heard, from the fighter who made his Hollywood gym famous the world around.
“He told me he’s gonna knock this guy out and he’s never said that to me in his life. I’m really happy with where his head’s at,” said Roach. “I like him by knockout, if he lands the shots like he did today, he will.”
Asked what round he saw the fight ending in, he threw out the number nine.
“I’m really happy that he wants a knockout. We haven’t heard this, and I think the killer instinct is back,” said Roach.
Pacquiao said he didn’t want to offer a prediction, but said he’s doing the same routine he had in his last fight against Lucas Matthysse – which was his first knockout win since 2009.
Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) of Cincinnati, Ohio had been training in Florida before relocating to Las Vegas to train. He’s never been stopped in his career, and his only two times being knocked down were in his 2013 unanimous decision loss to Marcos Maidana.
The fight, which will be broadcast live on Showtime pay-per-view, will be Pacquiao’s first in the United States since 2016.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].