MANILA, Philippines – Trainer Buboy Fernandez praised Russian boxer Ruslan Provodnikov for giving his best in his sparring sessions against Filipino boxing champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Provodnikov has been sparring with Pacquiao since last week to help the Filipino fighter prepare for his June 9 welterweight bout against undefeated boxer Timothy Bradley Jr.
"Maganda naman ang pinapakita ng Russian sparring partner, lahat ginagawa n'ya para mabigyan ng magandang sparring 'yung pambansang kamao natin," Fernandez said.
But Fernandez added that Provodnikov is also troubled by Pacquiao's strength and speed.
"Medyo nahihirapan s'ya ng koonti sa lakas ni Manny," he said. "Pero nagpapasalamat din tayo kasi kahit papano, nabibigyan n’ya tayo ng magandang sparring."
Fernandez said that Provodnikov moves the same way as Bradley, who on June 9 will challenge Pacquiao for the World Boxing Organization welterweight championship.
Other boxers including featherweight contender Ernie Sanchez and flyweight fighter Rodel Mayol are also training alongside Pacquiao.
Fernandez said training alongside one of the sport's pound-for-pound kings is a learning experience for the younger boxers.
"Kahit papano, nakkikita nila kung paano talaga mag-handa para sa darating na laban," Fernandez said. "Yung mga ibang fighter din namin, nashe-share yung nalalaman natin."
Fernandez noted that other fighters may be satisfied after doing road work, but for Pacquiao, that is only the beginning. The Pacman instead follows his road work with sit-ups in order to develop his muscles, which will help him withstand Bradley's body punches.
"Sa percentage, nasa 90%, 85% na tayo. Masusukat natin 'yan kapag dumating na doon sa dalawang sparring partner na naghihintay sa LA (Los Angeles)," Fernandez said.
Pacquiao and his team will hold the second phase of their training camp at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. – With a report from Maria Wallis, ABS-CBN News Baguio City