By Nick Giongco
Manny Pacquiao is picking up more speed and more intensity in his training for the Nov. 14 battle with Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. “Manny’s improving each passing day,” top trainer Freddie Roach told Manila Bulletin and fightnews after watching the lethal-hitting Filipino lefty rack up his 24th round of sparring on Thursday at the Shape Up Gym in Baguio City. “It was another very god day of sparring,” said the 49-year-old Roach, who has been calling the shots in Pacquiao’s corner since mid-2001. For the third straight sparring day, Pacquiao logged three rounds each with undefeated super-welterweight Shawn Porter and super-lightweight Urbano Antillon, something that brought a smile to Roach’s usually stoic face.
Roach said he hasn’t decided yet when to hike the number of sparring rounds from six to seven since Mexican body-puncher Jose Luis Castillo, touted to give Pacquiao a rough time in sparring, hasn’t arrived yet even though he was expected to show up as early as Tuesday. Latest news reveal that the rugged Castillo, a former world lightweight champion now campaigning at welterweight, will plane in on Saturday morning.
Pacquiao, according to Roach, will log a total of 150 rounds of sparring by the time he gets up the ring to trade bombs with Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
If Castillo indeed arrives, he will only have two weeks to work with the 30-year-old Pacquiao in Baguio since the fighter has been penciled to leave for the US to resume his preparation at the Wild Card Boxing Club on Oct. 24.
Latest odds show that Pacquiao remains as -240 favorite, while Cotto is listed at +190, meaning a $240 bet on Pacquiao wins $100, and a $100 wager on Cotto wins $190. Cotto’s coveted World Boxing Organization welterweight crown will be on the line although both parties have agreed that the fight will be fought at a catch weight of 145 lbs.