By Nick Giongco
Top trainer Freddie Roach sent Manny Pacquiao through the wringer on Tuesday as the Filipino fighter traded bombs for a total of six rounds—three rounds each—with super-welterweight Shawn Porter and super-lightweight Urbano Antillon in his training camp in Baguio City. Since kicking off with the sparring sessions exactly a week ago yesterday, Pacquiao has now logged a total of 18 rounds, still a hundred or so short of the usual target of 130-plus rounds by the time he and his team motor to Las Vegas during the week leading to his Nov. 14 clash with Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
Pacquiao spars every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will do just that possibly until a week or even five days before the 12-round welterweight match at the MGM Grand. Team Pacquiao is also awaiting the arrival of Mexican Jose Luis Castillo, who is set to plane in Thursday morning. If he arrives in time, Roach will ask him to begin sparring with Pacquiao on Saturday.
Roach had told Manila-based scribes who visited Pacquiao training camp last week that there’ll be plenty of sparring rounds and more hard work that will come the pound-for-pound king’s way as they enter the third week of preparation.
Pacquiao began his Baguio training on Sept. 21 although he had worked out a sweat twice in Manila before making the arduous climb to the City of Pines. Lending a hand to Roach are conditioning coach Alex Ariza, Buboy and Roger ‘Flash’ Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and two-time world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa.
Team Pacquiao will stay in Baguio until Oct. 24, which is a Saturday, as the boxer and his entourage motor down to Manila after the workout to catch a late-night Philippine Airlines flight to Los Angeles.
Owing to the 15-hour time difference, Pacquiao will arrive in Los Angeles on the same day and would have the luxury of a day-off the following day to prepare for the tough grind at the Wild Card on Monday.
Cotto, meanwhile, is also neck-deep in training at the Fight Factory in Tampa, Florida.
Cotto’s preparation is being closely monitored by head trainer Joe Santiago and conditioning coach Phil Landman, who had earlier joined hands in the pre-conditioning of the shaven-skulled banger in Puerto Rico as early as August.