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Pacquiao spars on first day

Manila, Philippines – Even though he was not scheduled to spar on Monday – his first day of training at the Wild Card Boxing Club – Manny Pacquiao was ordered to lace on his gloves and put on a headgear by trainer Freddie Roach.

Roach paired Pacquiao with Venezuelan Jorge Linares and the two did four rounds together and another four rounds was added, this time, with Ray Beltran, who had helped many times in the past, as the Filipino’s sparmate.

Roach wanted to give Linares, who fights this Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, his final quality sparring session and exactly got what he wanted.

Since Pacquiao had an unscheduled sparring session, Roach said the next will not happen until Thursday and with Linares out of the picture, only Beltran and an African puncher training under cutman Miguel Diaz will fill the void.

Roach said the three-week training in Baguio City proved very helpful and Pacquiao himself said upon his arrival in the US over the weekend that he feels that he is 80 percent in shape for the Nov. 12 rubber match with Juan Manuel Marquez.

While Pacquiao insists that he is already in fiery form, Roach believes there are still lots of work to do.

“I think Manny’s about 65 to 70 percent now,” said the 51-yearold Roach, who has eight weeks to whip the pound-for-pound king into a beast come fight night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao is an 8-1 favorite to repulse Marquez’s challenge but he is not taking chances against the 38-year-old Mexican, who he said will go all-out since this will be his last big fight. (Nick Giongco)