Sunday, October 31, 2010
MANILA—Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao looked “very good” in sparring at the Wild Card Gym but his weight was a cause of concern for strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, the Inquirer learned Sunday.
With 13 days remaining before Pacquiao’s showdown with Antonio Margarito at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas, Ariza said the Filipino champ’s reported weight of 146 lb “is too low.”
At that weight, Ariza said Pacquiao was 10 pounds lighter than Margarito, who is expected to come in at 165 on fight night with the Pacman climbing the ring at 150.
The showdown for the WBC super welterweight title will be held at a catch weight of 151 lb.
Ariza noted that Pacquiao was impressive against his three sparring partners because “they are more competitive and move well and fight at a faster pace” which suits Pacquiao whose forte is his speed.
However, the question of the size and punching power of his sparring partners, Richard Holloway, David Rodela and Raymund Beltran compared to the 5-foot-11 power-punching Antonio Margarito surfaced.
Ariza had to abandon the conditioning program designed to build Pacquiao physically to take on the bigger and taller Margarito after Filipino trainer Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez and another assistant Nonoy Neri noted that Pacquiao had become sluggish and the extra poundage slowed him down.
Ariza said that despite efforts to change Pacquiao’s preparation he would “not worry about that and support him all the way.”
“It’s too late. We can’t change anything in the next ten days,” he added.
Meanwhile, trainer Freddie Roach has yet to tap undefeated light middleweight Vanes Martirosyan (28-0, 17 KOs) as well as rising middleweight star Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (21-0, 15 K’s) to spar with Pacquiao.
Sources said the celebrated trainer may not wish to risk anything at this stage against opponents who could conceivably hurt Pacquiao with their speed and power.