By EDDIE G. ALINEA
Special to Philippines Today USA
LOS ANGELES, California — Yes, Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao is raring and ready to fight American Timothy Bradley for the third time two weeks from now.
The Sarangani Congressman has reached his peak 14 days before their showdown on April 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, , according to his American chief trainer Freddie Roach, confirming similar statements made by two of his assistants three days ago.
Assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez announced last Wednesday that the the 37-year-old father of five was ready to fight any day, an assessment concurred by fellow assistant Nonoy Neri a day later.
“Yeah, they’re right,” Roach agreed last Thursday after Pacquiao sparred for 12 rounds, his most since flying in here from Manila. “I’m happy to announce to those who are interested to know that we’re about to end one of the best camps we had so far.”
“Manny’s already in peak and he’s ready to mix it up this early,” Roach told this writer Thursday after his prized pupil of 21 years exchanged punches and banged bodies for seven rounds with sparring mate Ghislain Maduma of Canada and 5 rounds with American Lydell Rhodes at the Wild Card Gym.
The same day, the “Fighter of the Decade” underwent a random blood test, his second in two weeks, conducted by representatives of the Voluntary Anti Doping Agency inside his favorite eatery on the ground floor of the gym owned by Roach.
“Credit should go to Manny for the cooperation he extended the training staff from the time they pitched camp in General Santos City a little less than five weeks ago until moving here in L. A.,” the Hall of Fame guru said.
Roach said Pacquiao’s early grooming made the job easy for him and the training team in the next week or so before the team drives to Las Vegas for the final chapter of his trilogy with Bradley that started in June 2012 when the then unbeaten prizefighter from Palm Springs, California salvaged a 12-round split decision win, thanks to what Top Rank bossman Bob Arum said was the “Three Bilnd Mice,” in reference to the judges that worked the fight.
“Easy,” Roach explained, means that from time to time, from this day on, the eight-division champion can ask for a rest day if he so wishes like Thursday morning when he did away with his roadwork set at the Pan Pacific Park that would have preceded the day’s sparring session.
The last two days of the week will be confined, as scheduled, to doing the mitts Friday as well as punching the bag and speed ball. Saturday would be dedicated again to sparring.
Like Fernandez and Neri, Roach dismissed the possibility of Pacquiao getting burnt out, saying measures to prevent that from occurring have already been in place.
Pacquiao and his team of more or less 100 people, consisting of family, friends, supporters and employees will drive in a convoy of some 40 vehicles to Las Vegas on April 4.