Assistant trainer Jonathan Peñalosa predicted that eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao could score a fifth-round technical knockout win against Jessie Vargas in their November 5 bout at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Peñalosa, one of the assistant trainers of Pacquiao, said the fighting senator has engaged in a tough sparring session with former American Olympian lightweight Jose Ramirez since his arrival last week together with chief trainer Freddie Roach.
“Manny is now 60 to 70 percent in good fighting form based on my own opinion,” Peñalosa, the elder brother of former world champion Gerry Peñalosa, told The Manila Times in an interview. “He had a tough sparring session last week because Ramirez is also a good boxer.”
Asked if what his prediction in the fight, Peñalosa said: “I believe Manny could win by a fifth round technical knockout and that’s my personal opinion so far. Manny will become stronger and faster as the fight goes near. I guess coach Freddie (Roach) is impressed with Manny’s latest condition.”
Pacquiao (58-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) remains steady attending the senate hearing and session during morning before going to his late afternoon training in the weekdays at the Elorde Gym in Pasay City.
The other trainers of Pacquiao are Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.
Pacquiao, 37, who jogs in the early morning at Forbes in Makati City, also trains on Saturday but takes a rest Sunday.
Pacquiao’s personal adviser Mike Koncz said Pacquiao is in best shape so far and his performance in the recent sparring session with Ramirez looked very great. “Saturday’s sparring looked great and fine,” Koncz told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“I think he’s 70 to 80 percent ready,” added Koncz. “Ramirez is doing well in sparring.” The World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Vargas (27-1 win-loss record with 10 knockouts), on the other hand, is doing his training and sparring session behind closed door with chief trainer Dewey Cooper in Las Vegas in the US, according to reports.
The team of Pacquiao will go to the US on October 22 for the last phase of his training at the Wildcard gym in Los Angeles.
JOSEF T. RAMOS