Wildcard training partners speak out over sparring with Manny Pacquiao

29 Oct

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

Juan Manuel Marquez is in trouble, according to David Rodela who is one of the sparring partners currently aiding the training and preparations of boxing’s only octuple world titlist; Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino fighter defends his WBO welterweight belt on Saturday, November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and the consensus opinion amongst Pacquiao’s spar partners is that the 32-year-old is focused and training like never before…

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Pac has a hand in the finishing touches before a work-out. Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

“He’s very fast!” said Irish lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (8-0-0, 3ko) in front of the mp8 crew during a typical day at Hollywood’s famed Wildcard Boxing Gym, owned by renowned trainer Freddie Roach and the Los Angeles home of Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko).

In a mutually beneficial partnership, Kavanagh explained that working with an experienced champion like Pacquiao can only enhance his own fistic repertoire, something that could help his own training as he readies himself for a fight on the undercard of Amir Khan’s WBA/IBF unified super lightweight championship defence against challenger Lamont Peterson.

“I fight at 135,” Kavanagh said, before adding: “On December 10, I’m fighting in Washington DC on the Amir Khan undercard. It’s great experience y’know, [Pacquiao is] the best you can come up against so it’s good to get in, do some rounds and mix it up with him.”

David Rodela, a journeyman lightweight from Oxnard, California said: “It’s always tough [sparring with Pacquiao], nothing’s ever easy with Manny.

“First day of sparring today [Thursday]. I’m really excited… when you spar with Manny you get to learn so much. I get to act like Marquez so it’s cool, it’s fun.”

There have been increasing murmurs coming out of the Wildcard – from the coaching staff to gym-mates – that for Pacquiao, this fight with Marquez (their third) is personal. Such talk is compounded by Rodela who proclaimed that the popular Pinoy pin-up will be the first boxer to stop Marquez inside the distance.

“Manny is out to prove a point and I think he’s gonna knock him out,” Rodela (15-5-3, 6ko) said. “I think early… I think first six – he’s gone. In sparring today [Pacquiao] looked tough and he finished strong. [Marquez] is in trouble. Good luck to him, but he’s in trouble.”

One of Pacquiao’s most reliable training partners, Mexican lightweight contender Ray Beltran (25-5-0, 17ko), also stated that it had been a long time since he had seen Manny so fired up. He told ESNewsReporting: “I’m training with him right now. I see Manny really, really focus on this fight, compared to his last five fights, he’s on the game, he’s aggressive.”

When pressed as to whether Pacquiao had hurt him in sparring recently, the technically-skilled prizefighter smiled tellingly and said: “Let’s not talk about that!”

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