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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Champ revs up, hurts sparmate

BAGUIO CITY , Philippines – Manny Pacquiao worked out so long, so hard, so well yesterday and was amply rewarded with a big smile and a thumbs-up sign from his chief trainer, Freddie Roach.

Pacquiao pummeled Shawn Porter for three rounds and took in Urbano Antillon for two rounds as he capped his first week of sparring with six weeks left before the Miguel Cotto fight.

Pacquiao had a hard time coping with the bigger and heavier Porter, a 21-year-old junior middleweight, when they sparred two rounds last Thursday. It was so much different this time.

The hard-hitting Filipino finally showed quickness with his hands and his feet and often times caught Porter defenseless. In the second round, he hit the native of Ohio with a solid left straight to the face.

Porter froze for a second and Pacquiao could have finished him off with another good one. Earlier, the American caught Pacquiao with his best punch for the day, also a left, that sent the champ reeling to the ropes.

Overall, however, it was a far much better sparring session than Thursday’s, and as Pacquiao headed back to his corner, Roach gave him the thumbs-up sign.

“He was working on his timing and he was more focused today – less distractions, no media day, no showing off. He played a little bit in the end but I’m very happy. He just gets better as time moves on,” said Roach.

After Thursday’s sparring, Roach said Pacquiao is just 40 percent of his full potential, but said the other day that by the time they leave for Los Angeles on Oct. 24 he should be 70 to 80 percent ready for Cotto.

Porter was simply overwhelmed in the ring that his father and trainer, Ken Porter, couldn’t hide his frustration, considering that just two days ago it was the 2007 National Golden Gloves champion who was all over Pacquiao.

“What are you doing,” the elder Porter was shouting during the sparring. “You’re not doing what I want you to do.”

Pacquiao was already banging away against Urbano and the Porters were still in a discussion just off the ring.

Roach said he was glad that Pacquiao moved well against Porter, the way he would want to see him move against Cotto on Nov. 14.

“Our job is to hit him and move and get out of the way. No exchanges. The most should be a three-punch combination and then get out.

Two to three-punch combinations is what we’re working on. You wait for the fourth shot and he’s gonna hit you back,” said Roach.

During short breaks as he shadow boxed on the ring, Pacquiao spoke to scribes who were watching him closely.

“Yan ang susi (That’s the key),” he said, demonstrating some blinding combinations and then spinning out to his left or to his right. “Yan ang susi. Hit and run. Hit and run.”

After the sparring, Pacquiao let in the crowd that had gathered behind the doors of the Shape Up Gym. And before he knew it, he was surrounded by fans both young and old.

The fans were treated to a display of Pacquiao’s stamina as he did some very special excercises which were prepared by his conditioning coach, Alex Ariza.

Ariza said what they did was different from plyometrics, a form of exercise that helps a fighter build his muscles and body without giving up on speed.

Source: philstar.com

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