Pacquiao keeps ’em guessing, skips sparring again

Pacquiao keeps ’em guessing, skips sparring again

HOLLYWOOD - Manny Pacquiao's trainers are applying the brakes on his buildup for his coming Fight of the Century with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The only fighter to win titles in eight weight divisions is said to be so far ahead of the training schedule that chief trainer Freddie Roach decided to cancel sparring session Saturday at his Wild Card Gym here.

Team Pacquiao kept fight experts guessing again as Roach had also cancelled sparring Tuesday and Thursday last week to give the fighting congressman time to rest.

A scheduled sparring session last Thursday was aborted after technicians from the United States Anti-Doping Agency extracted four vials of blood from Pacquiao as part of the drug-testing protocol agreed upon by both camps.

But Pacquiao was quick to quell speculations over the unusually long gap in sparring.

"Sparring is of little consequence as we're already there (peak form)," Pacquiao explained in Filipino during Saturday's "temptation night" for participants of the weight-loss contest for Team Pacquiao members and close supporters.

"Next week's schedule is more crucial, so we want to avoid any injury or untoward incident."

Pacquiao has had a total of 23 rounds of sparring, 13 of them with the mitts, according to assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez.

"He's now in shape to fight Mayweather, so we want him to slow down and avoid a burnout," said Fernandez.

Pacquiao displayed speed and stamina in his morning runs last week at Griffith Park and Pan Pacific Park, leaving his running companions huffing and puffing as they struggled to keep pace.

"There's nothing to worry about," said Fernandez. "We're just refining the techniques and his footwork."

Pacquiao admitted Friday that they are working on a "secret weapon" to fight Mayweather in the showdown estimated to gross between $300 million and $400 million and generate about $74 million in gate receipts.


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