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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pacquiao near peak form, says Roach

Manny Pacquiao is close to peak form, the Filipino fighter’s chief trainer Freddie Roach revealed Wednesday from Los Angeles.

“He’s about 90 to 95 percent now,” Roach told the Bulletin 18 days before Pacquiao collides with Ricky Hatton of England at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Roach said Pacquiao chalked up another 10 rounds of sparring and didn’t miss a beat in banging with Urbano Antillon, Raymond Serrano and David Rodela, the wiry fellow Pacquiao knocked out with a body shot over the weekend at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Even though Pacquiao is right on target, Roach is bringing in a new sparring partner -- a 140-pounder -- this week to take the place of Rodela.

Roach disclosed that the touted Mike Alvarado, an unbeaten 140-pounder from Denver, “never showed up at the gym” after having his taste of Pacquiao’s power in their initial encounter last week.

Pacquiao will either spar 12 rounds this Saturday or Tuesday as his training enters the most crucial phase, making Roach even more convinced that Hatton will not get past three rounds.

“We will demolish him (inside three rounds),” said Roach, who had earlier predicted that it would take nine rounds for Pacquiao to soften up the rugged Hatton.

Meanwhile, over at Hatton’s training headquarters in Las Vegas, trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. also told this paper that they just can’t wait for the fight to take place.

“Ricky’s very confident (of winning),” said Mayweather Sr.

Asked whether the fight is going 12 rounds, Mayweather Sr. said he doesn’t think it would.

“Ricky’s winning the fight if the fight is short,” said the flamboyant New York-born taskmaster known for technique.


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