Manny Pacquiao breezed through his first sparring session in five months yesterday with the eight-division world champion shaking off the cobwebs against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Pacquiao’s four-round performance, however, proved enough to convince chief trainer Freddie Roach and keen observers that he’s on track as far as his preparations for Timothy Bradley are concerned.
“The sparring went well,” boxing promoter Wakee Salud told the Inquirer. “He (Pacquiao) moved well though he’s been out of the ring for a long time. Apparently, he’s in great shape and the power is there.”
Salud said Pacquiao controlled the tempo of the bout, though he got hit sometimes by Provodnikov, a relentless puncher in the mold and size of Bradley, who’s gunning for Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“The Russian is huge, around 160 pounds, and he can definitely help Manny, who weighs around 145, with his style,” added Salud, an adviser of the Sarangani representative.
Originally slated for Saturday, the sparring session at Shape Up Gym inside the Cooyeesan Hotel was moved up by Roach on the request of Pacquiao, who’s done 70 rounds with the mitts since training camp started in Baguio City on April 18.