Manny Pacquiao’s fitness and readiness to fight will be tested when he plunges into sparring for the first time at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood Wednesday.
Tasked by chief trainer Freddie Roach to give Pacquiao a good six-round workout are Mexican Raymund Beltran and Russian Ruslan Provodnikov.
Both are familiar ring partners with the 31-year-old Beltran having sparred with Pacquiao since 2004. Provodnikov, 22-1 with 15 knockouts served as Pacquiao’s main sparmate in his preparations for Timothy Bradley early this year.
Actually, Pacquiao has sparred with Filipino prospect Anthony “Rocky” Marcial in Gen. Santos City, where he decided to hold the early part of his training for a fourth showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8.
Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles Saturday night, rested on Sunday, then hit the road in the company of brother Bobby and some Team Pacquiao members early Monday at Griffith Park. He also did strength and abdominal exercises with Filipino trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri, according to Philboxing reports.
The Fighter of the Decade finally went to Wild Card in the afternoon, sweated it out through gym work and then did punch mitts with Roach.
Though Pacquiao looks physically prepared, Roach wants to find out whether the vaulted hand and foot speed of his prized ward is back.