GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Manny Pacquiao sparred for 12 rounds Saturday and looked ready for the biggest challenge of his career yet at the Pacman Wild Card Gym here.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao showed enough stamina and power in dealing with three sparring partners for four rounds each as he stepped up his preparation in his quest for an unprecedented 11th world title and issue a challenge to WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at the Axiata Arena.
With about two weeks left to go, Pacquiao’s long-time friend and chief trainer Buboy Fernandez hid a little smile on his face as he liked what he saw.
“We are right on track. We have two weeks more to go and Manny is ready. We don’t want him to peak too soon,” said Fernandez, who is heading the coaching staff in a major and most crucial fight in their storied career with Pacquiao.
On Friday, Pacquiao went back to the steepest hills of Sarangani in a test of will and character and had a sumptuous breakfast overlooking the picturesque view of Sarangani bay and the adjacent Mt. Matutum nearby.
Pacquiao started slow in the first two rounds against Arnel Tinampay but gained enough momentum to stood toe to toe with Jheritz Chavez from the fifth round to eighth and match speed and tactics with unbeaten Australian George Kambosos Jr. from the ninth to 12th rounds onwards.
The only eight-weight division boxing champion, Pacquiao is headlining “Fight of Champions,” the biggest boxing event in the last four decades happening in Malaysia. MP Promotions, the promotional outfit headed by Pacquiao, himself, has assembled three other world championship matches.