PACQUIAO BEGINS SPARRING WITH SPECTACULAR KNOCKDOWN
Posted on 18 March 2009
The worldâ€™s No.1 pound-for-pound fighter and Filipino national treasure Manny Pacquiao began his first day of sparring with a spectacular performance at the Wild Card Gym of celebrated trainer Freddie Roach in Los Angeles .
In starting off aggressively Pacquiao showed he means business in preparing for his showdown against IBO light welterweight champion Ricky â€œThe Hitmanâ€ Hatton at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.
Conditioning expert Alex Ariza told www.insidesports.ph
, Standard Today and Viva Sports that the first day of sparring was â€œvery exciting.â€
He said Pacquiao dropped sparring partner Art Hovhannesyan whom Ariza described as â€œa very tough, rugged Armenian who has been sparring here for a while and Manny dropped him in the second round and then cut him in the fourthâ€ forcing an early end to the sparring session.
Ariza said Hovhannesyan was â€œa 147-150 pounder and Manny hit him with a straight left and he went down. Manny then caught him with what looked like an uppercut and that opened up a cut that ended the sparring at about two minutes into the fourth round.â€ The cut was about one inch on the left eyelid.
Hovhannesyan who lives in Glendale , California is undefeated with a ring record of 7-0-1- with 2 knockouts.
Ariza who helped prepare Pacquiao for his sensational 9th round demolition of WBC lightweight champion David Diaz and the December 6 battle with Oscar De La Hoya who quit at the end of the eighth round said Pacquiao â€œlooks very strong.â€
The conditioning expert noted â€œIâ€™ve always said that at 140 pounds, he wont struggle to make weight, there are no diet issues and Manny is just so strong now.â€
He said Pacquiao started his strength and conditioning on Monday and Ariza told us â€œ he did very well with that. He looks strong, almost like the De La Hoya fight.â€ He noted that Pacquiao is able to push himself but since its early in his training he gets a little tired. On Monday, Roach said Pacquiao went 15 rounds on the punch-mitts and it was he (Roach) who felt tired.
Ariza said that during the aborted sparring session Pacquiao was â€œjust toying with this guy who is not as big as Rashad Holloway who was 165 pounds and another Mexican who was 160â€ when Pacquiao was preparing for De La Hoya.
Ariza pointed out that Pacquiao is now fighting opponents who are 5â€™8â€ or 5â€™9â€ â€œand Manny is hitting them. I just donâ€™t see these smaller guys being able to take his punches. I knew he was going to be lethal at 140 pounds.â€
He said WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa also worked out at the Wild Card while Bernabe Concepcion who fights WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano on the Pacquiao-Hatton undercard also worked out after Pacquiao.
Ariza said he saw the 22 year old Concepcion train â€œa little bit and he looked sharp, he looked strong and heâ€™s a good worker.â€