Pacquiao impressive in first sparring session

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Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao during training. AFP FILE PHOTO

Manny Pacquiao did okay in his first sparring session. But the eight-division world champion knows he needs to push himself harder in the training for his July 2 fight against Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.

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After three weeks of jogging and conditioning, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion sparred with lightweight Leo­nardo Deoronio and junior welterweight Sonny Katiandagho on Saturday Five Ecom building near Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

“I did good in my first day of sparring. But I need to push myself hard because I know my opponent is also training very hard,” said Pacquiao, adding that that chief trainer Freddie Roach will bring one more sparring partner when he arrives this week.

Each sparring session lasted for two rounds. And the two younger boxers were still amazed with the power and speed of the 38-year old Filipino ring icon.

“He is still the boxer that really hard to hit because he’s too fast,” said Doronio, who sparred with Pacquiao when the latter fought Jessie Vargas last November. Pacquiao won the match via unanimous decision.

“I was hit many times. I expect him to become faster and stronger in the next few days especially on his fifth day of sparring,” added the 28-year old Doronio.

The 24-year old Katiandagho was left impressed after the two-round session.

“At his age, he is faster, wiser and stronger than me. I’m just 24 and he’s over 30 but he has more power and stamina than me,” said Katiandagho. “I did my best to outsmart him but I couldn’t. He is very unpredictable also and he is on a different level.”

After the sparring session, Pacquiao spent three more hours for pad work, speed ball, heavy bag and plyometric to end his training.

Pacquiao (59-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) and Horn will clash in a world-title fight at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.

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