Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s preparation for what is considered as the most critical fight in the chapter of his boxing career is bugged by distractions.
First, the South Korean junior welterweight, Min Wook-Kim, who was supposed to arrive in the Philippines to work as Pacquiao’s initial sparring partner failed to arrive as scheduled last Wednesday.
Former bantamweight world champion Gerry Peñalosa who made the arrangements for the Korean boxer, currently the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Orient-Pacific Junior Welterweight champion, to be Pacquiao’s sparring mate said Min has brewing problem with his current manager.
“I talked to them and they sounded hindi na magkakasundo. Min has been reported to be going to the U.S. para doon na mag-campaign sa ilalim ng bagong manager,” Peñalosa was quoted in a story which appeared in a national newspaper.
He said he doubted if Min would ever come to the Philippines to work with Pacquiao.
Yesterday, the Philippines News Agency’s Eddie Alinea reported that the eight division world champion will instead spar on Tuesday, with Philippine lightweight conten-der Leonardo Doronio at the MP Tower Gym in Sampaloc, Manila.
”Doronio is a reputed a hard-punching, speedy local campaigner will pinch hit for the Korean World Boxing Organization Orient-Pacific junior welterweight titleholder Min Wook-Kim, who was earlier picked to be the eight-division champion’s sparring partner at least in the first phase of his training camp,” Alinea reported.
Alinea’s story added that Doronio was contacted by Jonathan Penalosa, brother of former two-division champion Gerry Penalosa, through his trainer Renren Flecher, a hand at the Mandaluyong City boxing stable.
“Isang beses lang naman, kaya kinuha ko na. Kelangan na daw ni Manny ang sparring habang nasa Maynila man lang siya,” Penalosa said.
The fighting Sarangani Province Congressman took timeout from his General Santos camp by flying to Manila early Saturday for a social commitment. A two-day workout, including sparring with Doronio, has been scheduled before his team flew back to General Santos on Wednesday.
The absence of a sparring partner this late in the preparation for his November 24 bout with American Brandon ‘Bam Bam” Rios seems to be the least of the problems hounding the Pacquiao training camp.
With the elections for barangay officials set next month, Pacquiao is reportedly being hounded by village leaders in Sarangani province who are asking for his financial support in their bid for local positions.
” Pacman is seriously bothered because the visitors would stay until midnight in his mansion in General Santos,” said an insider who sounded worried on the effect of the sleepless nights on the greatest Filipino boxer ever.
The late night visits by political solicitors have affected Pacquiao’s early morning jogging sessions and he had to skip two morning trainings.
The insider said that Pacman was given the suggestion to move his training camp to Metro Manila or to Baguio City where he trained for most of his fights to avoid the distractions and focus on the fight against Rios.
The Rios fight is considered the most critical in Pacquiao’s boxing career now having lost twice in a row, first in a controversial split decision upset scored by American Timothy Bradley, and then the shocking 6th round KO inflicted by his Mexican nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez.
While he is favored to win against Rios in their fight in Macau on November 24, a loss to the American boxer could effectively spell the end of Pacquiao’s boxing career.