• Hard sparring brings back Pacquiao’s ‘ ‘old form’

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    Manny Pacquiao pummels Brandon Rios in their December 2013 fight. AFP FILE PHOTO

    Manny Pacquiao pummels Brandon Rios in their December 2013 fight. AFP FILE PHOTO

    Two weeks of relentless sparring against undefeated American junior welterweight Lydell Rhodes have brought back the old speed and power of Manny Pacquiao.

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    The Filipino boxing legend is currently training in General Santos under the supervision of his long-time trainer Freddie Roach. Pacquiao is preparing for his April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    “He [Pacquiao] is getting there,” Gerry Peñalosa, former boxing champion and now Pacman’s business partner told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Thursday. “I never saw him very aggressive before and he’s presently in tip-top shape. It will be an easy fight for Manny.”

    Roach, who received the Trainer of the Year plum five times from the Boxing Writers Association of America, believes that Pacquiao will improve more in terms of speed and power when they resume training in his Wildcard gym in the United States a week from now.

    “That’s the first time I saw him threw those combinations and he looked very impressive,” Roach told website philboxing.com. “And to think that this is only our second week of sparring, he will still improve when we get to Los Angeles where he will meet three more of my guys to help him.”

    Pacquiao (55-5-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) is set to train against additional sparring partners that include junior welterweight Kendall Holt, Steve Forbes and a Mexican

    Speedy Gonzales when he arrives at the Wild Card gym.

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