GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Manny Pacquiao will come out smokin’ from the opening bell on when he fights reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on March 12 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
This is how chief trainer Freddie Roach foresees his favorite pupil’s performance after receiving an advanced birthday gift from Pacquiao by way of another sterling show in his six-round sparring with Lydell Rhodes Tuesday.
“We’re preparing him to put up an unrelenting attack from the opening bell until his hands are raised in victory,” Roach confided. “And it looks like Manny’s responding well to our program.”
Displaying the speed and power that catapulted him to top position in the world’s pound-for-pound list, the 35-year-old threw crispy combinations, which Roach himself said he has never seen in their 13-year-parnership, that often caught his unbeaten sparring partner flatfooted.
“I’ve never seen him threw that many combinations since he walked in to my (Wild Card) gym and asked me to train him more than 10 years ago,” Roach, who is celebrating his 54 birth anniversary today, confessed to this writer after the energy-sapping session.
“And to think that this is only our second week of sparring,” Roach, who arrived Sunday last week to take over the training program, said. “He’ll still improve when we get to Los Angeles where he will meet three more of my guys to help him.”
Roach was referring to junior-welterweight Kendall Holt, Steve Forbes and a Mexican guy named Speedy Gonzales, who, as his name connotes will provide the eight-division world champion additional speed.
“Birthday gift ko kay Freddie na maganda ang ensayo ko ngayon,” Pacquiao himself said in a separate interview before plunging into action into a few basketball games he regularly do to supplement his stamina-building regimen.
“Everything that we expect Bradley to bring into the table, we will have an answer,” Roach, a five-time trainer of the year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America said by way of disclosing the kind of training he charted.
Holt, a former WBO junior-welter titlist (28-6 with 15 knockouts) will be out to add power to Pacquiao’s already lethal arsenal, while Forbes (35-12 with 11 KOs) will provide the Filipino boxing skills similar to Bradley’s.
A pair of six-round more skirmishes with Rhodes Thursday and Saturday, complemented by roadwork on Wednesday and Friday plus 10 to 15 rounds on the mitts complete Pacquiao’s final week at the GenSan.
Pacquiao, Roach and the team fly by a private plane loaned to him by bosom friend Chavit Singson to Manila Saturday afternoon in time to catch a Philippine Air Lines flight to Los Angeles evening of the same day.
“Yeah, we will stay workout on Saturday before enplaning to Manila then to L.A. on the same day,” Pacquiao confirmed. “If possible kasi, hindi kasi dapat magkaroon ng two-day rest a week ang ensayo baka kalawangin. Sundays are our normal rest days ever since.”