Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao caps sparring sessions, closes Hollywood camp Monday

Roy Luarca
Pacquiao caps sparring sessions, closes Hollywood camp Monday

TOP FORM. Manny Pacquiao's camp says the Filipino icon is battle-ready.

Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

‘Walang pinagbago,’ says Manny Pacquiao, believing he’s back in his old fiery form a week before his bout against Cuban Yordenis Ugas

It was his last sparring session so Manny Pacquiao put on a show.

Although it was only for four rounds, Pacquiao wowed the limited crowd at Wild Card Boxing Club with fast and furious movements geared toward wresting back the World Boxing Association super welterweight crown from Cuban Yordenis Ugas.

And, it helped that AB Lopez proved to be an able, methodical sparring partner.

Lopez, who has previously served as Pacquiao’s spar mate for his training camp against the then-unbeaten Keith Thurman in 2019, was tapped as he is an orthodox fighter like Ugas.

On short notice, Lopez spent time to watch and study tapes of Ugas’ previous fights.

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No wonder, he was ready for instructions given to him by Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez, conditioning coach Justin Fortune, and consultant Freddie Roach.

Lopez, who has been joining Pacquiao’s early morning runs since last month, even offered suggestions on how Pacquiao could deal well with his taller (4 inches) and younger rival (35).

They rehearsed several combinations intended to pierce Ugas’ defenses and thwart the Cuban’s assault.

“Last Thursday, we focused on speed. Today (Saturday) we focused on timing and persistence,” said Lopez, who felt blessed as he was taken in by the training team on short notice.

“It’s where he can punch it, where he’s landing. So his persistence, timing, everything is coming together.”

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The highlight reel was when Pacquiao did three rapid combinations followed by head blows.

Far from satisfied, Pacquiao then did four rounds of intense sparring with Fernandez. They practiced not only rapid footsteps but also attacking in zig-zag patterns while throwing combinations.

To cap off the day’s drill, they tried upward combinations followed by 1-2 body blows.

Pacquiao then called all members of his training team for the traditional group picture, followed by the media covering his fight with Ugas, a late replacement for Errol Spence who pulled out due to a retinal tear.

It’s been another productive week as Roach, Fernandez, and Fortune were unanimous in saying Pacquiao’s battle-ready when they close camp on Monday. 

No wonder, after pounding the speedball and getting a body rubbing, Pacquiao approached sportswriters and said: “Walang pinagbago. Ganoon pa rin (Nothing has changed. I’m still the same).”

Ugas will be in for a surprise on Saturday, August 21 (Sunday, August 22, Philippine time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The Cuban hastily prepared to do battle with an aging, war-ravaged 42-year-old, not a springy, fiery Pacquiao of old. –

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