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In what appears to be one of Manny Pacquiao's most controlled training camps in recent memory, the 8-division world champion is showing that old fire in his eyes at his General Santos training camp with about 5 weeks still left before his November 23 welterweight clash with young banger, Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs).
dSourceBoxing.com was in General Santos City recently to check on Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), who is on a quest to redeem himself and prove that he still has plenty left in the tank after his devastating knockout loss to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez last year.
The 34-year-old fighting congressman is in great shape and in synch with his trainer Freddie Roach, who has imposed a strict and private camp. Pacquiao's speed and movement is on track and hasn't shown any adverse signs when taking head shots in sparring, as well as having trouble with leg cramps-an issue he has brought up in recent camps and fights.
Though he has been putting in great work with his three sparring partners, Liam Vaugh, Dan Nazareno and Fredrick Lawson, none of them seem to possess the same kind of tenacity and relentless power punching that his upcoming opponent Rios is known for.
With Rios currently training with Pacquiao's former strength and conditioning coach to help bring his power up to 147, one has to expect even more aggression and explosiveness from the 27-year-old slugger from Oxnard. And his current sparmates simply fall short in playing the part.
"No disrespect to the three sparring partners, but Manny needs better sparring partners," said an observer who witnessed the sparring sessions. "He (Manny) looks good against them, but honestly, I don't think they are near the caliber of a Rios who will try to make life hell for Pacquiao in the ring."
Whether new sparring partners will be brought in for Pacquiao - who used to spar with top fighters in his previous camps like Ruslan Provodnikov and Amir Khan - remains to be seen, but if there is one thing I may add to this story, it's that Roach definitely knows what he's doing.
The team plans to keep training in Gen San and then in Macau for the last two weeks leading up to the fight.
- CLICK HERE for an exclusive photo gallery of Manny Pacquiao's training camp in Gen San.