For sparring partner, power is Pacquiao's edge


Posted at Feb 20 2014 03:05 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 11:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten prospect Lydell Rhodes flew to General Santos this week to serve as the sparring partner of Filipino champ Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

The 26-year-old American said he is looking forward to working with one of his idols.

In an interview with PhilBoxing, Rhodes acknowledged that he is still working his way into game shape but vowed to give Pacquiao a test when they start sparring.

“I am going to take it to him. That’s why they brought me here,” he said. “They didn’t bring me in to sit back, and even though I said I was a fan, I still come to compete. When I get into the ring with him, it’s not going to be a walk in the park.”

Rhodes understands that his role is to prepare Pacquiao for his April 12 showdown against unbeaten American Timothy Bradley, and is prepared to fulfill that role.

“They want me to go at him. I’ll go at him, and I’ll bring more than Bradley brings,” he guaranteed. “That’s my job, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Pacquiao-Bradley bout in April is a rematch of their controversial first fight in June 2012, and although Rhodes said he is also a fan of Bradley, he believes that Pacquiao won that fight.

Rhodes is also confident that Pacquiao will gain his revenge in the rematch.

“The advantage is Manny’s power,” he said. “He’s got a lot of power, a lot of speed, and I think he has more speed and power than Bradley.”

“Bradley has improved since they fought before… (but) on paper, everything favors Manny, who does everything a little bit better – he’s got the experience, speed, power, footwork, all of it,” he added.

The key for Pacquiao is to attack Bradley aggressively and to take advantage of Bradley’s relative lack of power and speed, said Rhodes.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he added, “(Bradley) wouldn’t be a champion if he didn’t have speed and some power, so he is really a good fighter. But Manny is going to have to bring it to him, because Bradley is going to stand behind his jab and back away with his jab, and when Pacquiao is not expecting him, he’s gonna come in with body shots.”

“I believe he might go downstairs a little bit more than he did in the first fight to slow Pacquiao down,” he added.

“Manny just has to have that killer instinct that we all know he has and bring it, and the fight’s all his,” said Rhodes.

Pacquiao started gym work in General Santos City this week. He will spend the first month of training camp in Gen San before leaving for the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.