By: Roy Luarca - Editor / @RLuarcaINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Photo: Manny Pacquiao during training at Elorde Gym in Pasay City. He is preparing for a title defense against Jeff Horn on July 2 in Australia. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
This early, Manny Pacquiao is ready to wage war against Jeff Horn.
Though the World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout is set on July 2 yet, Pacquiao’s training team led by Freddie Roach has declared him fit to fight the Australian at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Fact is, Roach decided to move Pacquiao’s tapering phase a few days earlier so as to prevent the eight-division world champion from over-training.
From 12 rounds of sparring last Thursday, Pacquiao’s practice session against three spar mates was cut to just ten rounds, according to training assistant Roger Fernandez, Sunday.
And, starting Monday, the training and sparring at Pacman Gym in General Santos City will gradually become shorter and lighter.
According to Fernandez and fellow training assistant Jonathan Peñalosa, a former World Boxing Council international flyweight champion, Pacquiao showed impressive form last Saturday, particularly against Mexican Adrian Young, who bore the brunt of the Fighting Senator’s speed and power.
Pacquiao caught Young, who holds a 23-win, 3-loss,
2-draw record with 18 knockouts, with an uppercut to the chin that made the Mexican prospect groggy in the second round.
Only the ropes prevented Young from going down, and, of course, Pacquiao did not unleash follow up blows.
The same thing happened in the fourth round, Peñalosa narrated, making Roach, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune happy.
Peñalosa said Pacquiao is 99 percent ready and is primed for a knockout if he catches Horn early in the 12-round bout.
For his part, Roger Fernandez said Pacquiao can tangle with Horn as early as Monday.