PACMAN IN TOP FORM AS COUNTDOWN BEGINS

HOLLYWOOD, MAY 2, 2011
(STAR) By Abac Cordero [Photo is loading... Manny Pacquiao does sit-up exercises. ABAC CORDERO]

Manny Pacquiao went six hard rounds of sparring Saturday with Ray Beltran and Shawn Porter at the Wild Card Gym.

Then he put on his business suit, had a quick bite of his favorite Thai food downstairs, and drove to Melrose District to launch his own line of scent – the MP8.

It was a long day for the Filipino boxing champion, starting it off with an early morning run in and around the park close to his La Palazzo apartment.

After Pacquiao left, his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, spoke to scribes, as he readied to turn the lights out inside the gym. It was close to 6 p.m., with almost no one else around.

Roach was glad with the day’s turnout, and how the sparring went.

“Manny started out a little loose but then he got into it and the end was great. He really looked good in the end with Shawn Porter,” he said.

The sparring rounds have gone down with exactly a week left before the May 7 showdown with Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

But it doesn’t really mean that Pacquiao is taking it easy. Roach said after two rounds with Beltran, the Pinoy icon stepped it up against Porter.

Pacquiao caught the shifty American welterweight with some clean shots, and seemed to have hurt him.

“He hit him with really good shots. But Shawn came right back. I would not say that he almost knocked him out. But he got his attention,” said Roach.

The celebrated trainer has offered $1,000 to any of Pacquiao’s sparring partners who could knock him down in training, and no one’s been successful so far.

Instead, it’s Pacquiao who often hurts his sparring partners, one of them, in one of the previous camps, stepping out of the ring with a broken nose.

Beltran, who’s been part of previous training camps, said Pacquiao is just getting better and better each day with each fight.

“Manny is a more complete boxer now and technically better in the ring, very unpredictable unlike before when it was all too mechanical,” he said.

“Before, it used to be all punches and aggression. Now, the punches are coming in from all angles, more accurate and they really hurt.”

Monday will be the last day of sparring, and in the afternoon Pacquiao and his bloated entourage travel to Las Vegas, some 300 miles away, for fight week.

Roach ordered Pacquiao to take a full day off Sunday.

“I told him to get a whole day off tomorrow, and get one good rest day before the fight. But you never know with Manny,” said Roach.

Pacquiao, he feels, might sneak out for a morning run, and Roach is hoping his boxer wouldn’t.

“Just go to church and that’s it,” said the trainer.

Pacquiao is planning a small barbeque party for friends at his apartment, and that should keep him all tied up the whole day.

Roach said he himself would stay home all day.

“Maybe watch a movie,” he said.

Will he catch some tapes of Mosley’s previous fights?

“No. I’m tired of Shane,” he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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