MANILA – Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao is improving daily in training camp and figures to have a great performance against unbeaten Timothy Bradley in their April 12 rematch, one of his sparring partners said.
American prospect Lydell Rhodes was Pacquiao’s first sparring partner for this camp, and the 26-year-old got a first-hand taste of the skill and strength of the “Pacman” during the first phase of camp in General Santos City.
“Now I truly see why he’s a champion, and why the champions take such a long training camp,” Rhodes said in an interview with On the Ropes Boxing Radio.
“When I first came in there, and the sparring sessions were going really good, but I could tell as each sparring session continued to go, he gets a little sharper and a little smarter,” he added.
Rhodes said Pacquiao clearly improved each day and became better and better as the camp progressed.
“At the beginning, he wasn’t cutting off the ring as good,” Rhodes related. “I was able to move around jab him a little more.”
“As the camp goes, he’s cutting off the ring more, he’s making me fight at his pace, which is fast and furious. He throws a lot of combinations, a lot of punches,” he added. “He stays on me, going to the body, working the head, doing everything.”
“It’s good to be in there with a champion like him to see how he adapts to certain things that I do and certain movements,” Rhodes said. “I might get away (with one thing) in one sparring session; sometimes I may just get away with it for two or three rounds, then he adjusts himself to it and I can’t do it anymore.”
The younger fighter also revealed that Pacquiao has added new wrinkles to his game plan.
“I think that he’s looking really good, and there’s a lot more to his game right now than there was in the past,” Rhodes said in a separate interview. [http://otrboxingradio.com/?p=3492]
Rhodes also got a front row seat to how Pacquiao works with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who was in GenSan for two weeks.
“The way that Freddie adjusts everything – if I do one thing like catch him with double jabs or feints, I see him working on it right after. They’ll be doing mitts and Freddie will be breaking them down for him,” he added.
He also assured Pacquiao’s supporters that the fighter’s killer instinct is still present, despite Bradley’s assertions that the “Pacman” has lost that edge.
“Of course he has the killer instinct like always. I know a lot of people say that since he got into church so much and worshiping a lot more than he had in the past, that it took his killer instinct away, but it’s still there from the way he punches me in sparring,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said that based on Pacquiao’s performance in training camp, he is due for a spectacular night against Bradley on April 12.
“Being around him and seeing his work ethic, and the way that he just picks it up every sparring session, every day in training he gets better and better, and sharper and sharper,” Rhodes marveled. “Manny is a great champion, and I look for him to do really well in the fight, because he’s doing really great in the sparring that we’ve had so far.”
“I look for him to have a really, really good outing when he fights Tim Bradley again, because of all the small things he’s added to his game that’s gonna make his performance that much bigger and better, just from the small things that he’s doing,” he added.