MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has already battered a training partner in sparring last Monday.
But he maintained that he has yet to get in tip-top shape.
"Okay naman ang first sparring ko kahit na medyo asiwa pa at parang kalalawangin (My first sparring was okay, but I was still feeling awkward and rusty)," Pacquiao told Philboxing’s Eddie Alinea.
He began his sparring sessions last Monday against Anthony "Rocky" Marcial in General Santos City.
The former welterweight champion rocked Marcial several times with vicious, rapid-fire power shots such that his sparring partner was forced to call it quits after three rounds.
Pacquiao, however, said he was still taking it easy because they have yet to enter the crucial stages of preparation for his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
"Sa Los Angeles pa sa Wild Card Gym ang talagang serious camp. Dito sa GenSan kumbaga parang pahiyang lang para pagdating sa Wild Card eh hindi tayo nangangapa," he said.
(We’ll be having our serious camp at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. We’re just starting our here in General Santos City so that our training goes smooth at the Wild Card.)
Pacquiao’s assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez said they chose to spar with Marcial mainly because he is a hard puncher.
Fernandez also noted that Marcial is well-versed in counterpunching, which is a fighting style that Marquez specializes in.
"What is important is malakas manuntok si Marcial, which is actually what we need at this stage of preparations," Fernandez said. "Counterpuncher din.”
Fernandez added that they plan to increase the volume of sparring before the end of the week.
"What we need is to prepare Manny for whatever hard grind that awaits him when he gets to Freddie [Roach] sa LA," he said.