By Dennis Principe
Proving that last week’s bad weather was never an issue in training camp, Manny Pacquiao dominated his sparring partners Tuesday at the Shape-Up Gym in Cooyesan Hotel in Baguio City. Pacquiao sparred with highly touted former two-time world lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo of Mexico for three rounds. Pacquiao is preparing for his upcoming world welterweight with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto set for 12-rounds at a catch weight of 145lbs scheduled on November 14 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. In his anticipated sparring with Castillo, Pacquiao used his vastly improved lateral movements in trying to avoid the Mexican’s uppercuts and body shots. Pacquiao stalled Castillo’s aggressive attacks with three to five punch combos and counter left straights.
The 35-year-old Castillo (60-9-1, 52 KOs) ended his first day of sparring with specks of blood in his left nostril.
“I can’t see his left. It’s very fast and strong. I think that will be a big problem of Cotto,” Castillo told Fightnews after the work out.
Chief trainer Freddie Roach, who at first seemed cautious when it comes to having Castillo as a sparring partner now expressed his contentment in having the Mexican inside the gym.
“Castillo looked to be off a little bit and he’s never sparred as fast as anyone like Manny. But I like his movement because he moves similar to Cotto. Overall it was a great workout and I was very happy,” said Roach.
In sparring with Porter, Pacquiao again worked on his footwork and stiff combinations while moving out of harm’s way.
“That will one of Manny’s best assets. His ability to throw strong punches while moving out of the ropes,” said two-time world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa who now works as one of Pacquiao’s assistant trainers.
Meanwhile Roach denied reports circulating on the internet that Pacquiao was knocked down in one sparring session last week.
Roach said no one has come close to flooring Pacquiao in any of their sparring sessions in their Baguio training camp.
Last weekend internet forums were deluged with queries and reports that Pacquiao got tagged by American sparring partner Shawn Porter.
“That’s a lie. I would know because I would have to pay. He’s getting hit but he’s never been floored ever. Not in eight years. The money is still in my pocket,” said Roach.
Roach has promised $1,000 for anyone among the sparring partners who could put down Pacquiao during sparring.