Trainer Freddie Roach plans to bring in some new sparring partners for pound-for-pound icon Manny Pacquiao this week as he steps up training for his showdown against Ghana’s tough Joshua Clottey at the $1.2 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 13.
Pacquiao sparred twelve rounds last Saturday but dropped super featherweight David Rodela from the roster and instead went up against undefeated Abdullai Amidu (18-0, 17 KO’s) of Ghana, light welterweight Mike Dallas (11-0-1, 2 KO’s) and the experienced welterweight, veteran Steve Forbes (34-7, 10 KO’s.)
Ring Magazine’s Michael Rosenthal recently quoted Dallas as saying Pacquiao is “even stronger than he was before the (Oscar) De La Hoya fight. He’s a good counter-puncher. 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.”
Amidu told Rosenthal, Pacquiao is in good condition “punches hard, had a lot of speed and has good movement. He has everything. His punches come from different directions. They don’t come from where you expect to. You have to be ready for every eventuality.”
Asked why he thought Pacquiao was so successful, Amidu replied “he has a lot of respect for humanity. God blesses him a lot. He’s very disciplined, always in good condition.”
The Ghana fighter said he was very impressed with Pacquiao’s footwork pointing out that “if you have good footwork you can do a lot in boxing. You have to have good movement, to move from every angle. He can do that” adding that Pacquiao was the best he had worked with.
Ariza said Pacquiao was good, same as before when he had a stirring workout on Thursday which both Roach and Ariza agreed was Pacquiao’s best showing in sparring so far.
The conditioning guru who has worked with Roach since a few weeks before the David Diaz fight which Pacquiao won by a devastating 9th round knockout told us he’s “focusing more on his legs” which caused some concern in the training camp when Pacquiao complained of pain and tightness in the left leg which was similar to what he suffered during the fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Ariza told us “as long as his leg is holding up and it's not bothering him I am pleased. Until he wins this fight let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
He revealed that Pacquiao “knows now” about the danger to his leg posed by playing too much basketball which Roach has long been against and has apparently stopped.
While he was in the Philippines prior to leaving for Los Angeles, Pacquiao played a lot of basketball which is his way of staying in physical shape before getting into the gym to prepare for a fight. Even in Los Angeles, Pacquiao did play in some pick-up games because he loves the sport so much.