Roach: Best sparring ever

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MANNY Pacquiao put on a sparring show for chief trainer Freddie Roach before he left for Los Angeles last night.

The eight-division world champion and sparmate Russian Ruslan Provodnikov poured it all in their four-round afternoon session at the MP Towers gym in Sampaloc, delighting Roach no end.

“Best sparring ever,” Roach told sportswriters in yesterday’s sendoff party for Team Pacquiao held at the Pan Pacific Manila hotel lounge. “Both had their moments, both were aggressive. I’m very happy.”

Roach, however, said a lot more hard work is in store for Pacquiao when they resume preparations for unbeaten American Timothy Bradley at his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

“I’ve got two more vigorous guys waiting there,” bared Roach, adding that one totes a 12-0 record.

Pacquiao, who was not even able to eat and stayed only for 15 minutes to catch his 6 p.m. television show at the nearby San Andres gym, said he’s prepared for the tough grind.

“This will be harder (than his Baguio training). “I’m willing to spar with anybody except a heavyweight.”

Reminded of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.—Miguel Cotto showdown in Las Vegas today, Pacquiao, who also sparred with lightweight Rustam Nugaev, said Mayweather may be in for a surprise as Cotto is wily and strong.

“I’m picking Cotto, but I won’t be betting,” said Pacquiao.

For his part, Roach picks Mayweather over Cotto, whom Pacquiao stopped in the 12th round in 2010.

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