By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - Top Rank boss Bob Arum is so pleased with how Manny Pacquiao looks and moves in training camp that a good six weeks before fight night, he already declared the Filipino icon ready to mix it up with Shane Mosley.
“He looks terrific. He looks very, very good,” said Arum, who flew in to Baguio to check on the high-altitude training of the pound-for-pound superstar under Freddie Roach at the Cooyesan Hotel’s Shape Up Gym.
“This is so early, and look how great he is. He can fight next week, probably,” exclaimed the 79-year-old promoter.
The fighting congressman from Sarangani is set to defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against Mosley on May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Arum said he’s quite impressed with how the 32-year-old Pacquiao, a feared southpaw with tremendous KO power, is fast developing a new weapon – his right hand.
“I like the way he’s been using that right hand, because I really believe that the right hand is gonna tell the story of the fight,” said Arum.
“Everybody knows that the left hand is his power hand, so Mosley’s gonna be looking for that left hand. But I think he’s using his right hand tremendously and that’s gonna be his big weapon,” he added.
Arum arrived in the Philippines early Monday accompanied by step daughter Dena Duboef, and two of Pacquiao’s sparmates, Shawn Porter and David Rodela.
From Manila, they were flown to the City of Pines on board the private plane of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson, just in time for the public workout of Pacquiao yesterday.
Arum said Pacquiao’s Baguio training camp, now on its second week, is running smoothly, unlike the previous build-up for the Antonio Margarito fight in which the Pacman looked sluggish.
“He’s just incredible. He’s really looking very, very good,” said Arum, leaving for the US on Wednesday night with no concern whatsoever on the way Pacquiao gears himself up for the showdown with Mosley.
Meanwhile, Shawn Porter and David Rodela, Pacquiao’s sparmates, arrived yesterday although Roach said the sparring sessions will only start next Tuesday.
While expressing satisfaction with the progress of Pacquiao’s training early in the camp, Roach said the Filipino icon remains far from reaching peak form to let him go sparring with Porter and Rodela, who have been with Team Pacquiao in past campaigns.
“He’s been off for a while, he still has some bad timing,” said Roach. “We’re not ready to fight yet.”
Sparring is scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with two more sparring partners, who fight like Mosley, on standby in Los Angeles and ready to join the camp any moment.