MANILA, Philippines — After three sparring sessions with Manny Pacquiao, Lydell Rhodes feels the $1,500 incentive offered by chief trainer Freddie Roach if he could knock down the Filipino ring icon is beyond reach.
Pacquiao has proven to be too strong and too fast for Rhodes, who needs to sneak in a power punch that could probably bring the Fighter of the Decade down to his knees.
Had the world’s only eight-division champion wanted it, Pacquiao could have easily knocked down Rhodes.
The disparity in skills was obvious in their third sparring session that lasted six rounds Saturday at Pacquiao’s Wild Card Gym in General Santos City.
Each time Rhodes went on attack mode, Pacquiao would just spun around and leave the unbeaten American (19-0, 9 KOs) in an awkward stance and open for a crunching shot.
Pacquiao, however, would allow Rhodes to regain his balance before the Sarangani representative resumed his sparring session in preparation for his grudge rematch with Timothy Bradley on April 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Assistant trainer Nonoy Neri, who doubles as Pacquiao’s personal cook, noted that Rhodes also packs a wallop.
The coaching staff that also includes assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez is focusing on further honing Pacquiao’s left uppercut for the 12-round bout with Bradley, who wrested Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight crown via a widely criticized split decision in late 2012.
In their first sparring session that went four rounds Tuesday, Pacquiao bloodied the nose of Rhodes, who’s is as tall and as bulky as the 5-foot-6 Bradley.
Pacquiao and Rhodes did five rounds last Thursday.
To keep Pacquiao from hitting peak form early, the next sparring session on Tuesday will also be for six rounds.
Team Pacquiao will leave for the United States on Saturday for the second and tougher phase of training camp at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
There, Pacquiao will have new top-caliber sparring partners in Kendall Hoyt and Steve Formes.
Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, has contacted the former world champions to simulate Bradley’s fighting style.