So let's take a look at Manny Pacquiao's sparring partners as he prepares for Joshua Clottey:
Record 23-4 (15 KOs)
Weight: Fights between 130-135 lbs
Ray Beltran has been sparring with Manny for years and they are clearly quite comfortable with one another. While Beltran is much smaller than Clottey he has quick hands and provides Manny with good work. In his last fight, on January 9, which you can watch above, he shows that he has quite a bit of power. The KO is frightening and the ref should never be allowed in the ring again, but you can see that Beltran is good at putting his punches together.
In an interview with The Ring, Beltran talks about how he has seen Manny progress through the years, saying, "I remember when he fought Barrera the first time. He was more aggressive, aggressive, aggressive... Now, he's become a better boxer. He has better technique. He uses his brain more. He's much smarter now. You can see it in the way he fights. He and Freddie see weaknesses in opponents and they work on it."
Beltran is still only 28, so he may be able to make a move and challenge for a title in the future. It might be a long road back, however. Though he won in style last month, it was his first fight in nearly two years after suffering a shocking one-punch KO loss to Ameth Diaz in his previous fight.
Record: 18-0 (17KOs)
Weight: 147 lbs
Amidu's record is obviously impressive, but a look at his boxrec page is cause for a little caution. Out of Amidu's 18 opponents we see a group of fighters with a combined total of 15 wins! An incredible nine of them were making their professional debut. This isn't to say that Amidu isn't a worthy sparring partner. It simply means we don't really know much about him. He has only fought in Ghana thus far, his native land. I'm certain Freddie Roach picked him partly for that very reason, as Ghanaian fighters tend to have similar styles. From Azumah Nelson to Ike Quartey and Joshua Clottey, they often fight with high guards and aggressive, powerful jabs.
Record: 11-0-1 (2 KOs)
Weight: 140 lbs
Dallas is just starting his career and its obvious that Freddie Roach sees some potential in the young fighter if he has chosen to make him a key part of Manny's preparation. Dallas is the same height as Clottey and sports a similarly imposing physique. Speaking to The Ring, Dallas says of Pacquiao, "he's strong, even stronger than he was before the De La Hoya fight. He's a good counterpuncher. He's strong, he's fast and his legs are really something. His footwork is incredible He moves like a cat. He's real fast."
Dallas could be a prospect worth watching.
* * *
These, are Pacquiao's main sparring partners, but the Wild Card Gym has become a destination for many of the sport's top fighters and Pacquiao works with them all. Recent reports had him working with Steve Forbes, for example.
Joshua Clottey, meanwhile, appears to be sparring mainly with Damian Frias. All indications are that Clottey will be in terrific shape, but it's hard not to think Pacquiao's varied and accomplished sparring partners will be a big advantage on March 13.