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Pacquiao camp eyes ex-Bradley opponent

MANNY Pacquiao

The stage is set for Manny Pacquiao’s training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood and a fighter who nearly knocked out Tim Bradley is being lined up to serve as a sparring partner for the Filipino puncher.

Pacquiao and Bradley are squaring off for the second time on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz said Kendall Holt, who floored Bradley twice when they fought in 2009, will likely be tapped to help during training camp.

A native of New Jersey, Holt, 32, has a 28-6 win-loss card with 15 knockouts and his remarkable showing against Bradley five years ago is the reason why he is being signed up as one of Pacquiao’s sparmates. Despite the two knockdowns, Bradley won the fight on points as he dominated the 12-rounder.

Unbeaten Lydell Rhodes (19-0 with nine KOs) is also being eyed to become a part of the sparring and he is already in General Santos City to pay homage to Pacquiao.

Koncz could not say yet exactly when Team Pacquiao is heading to the US to begin the most crucial phase of the buildup but should have an idea after he gets back from Macau this weekend.

Koncz will meet up with Wild Card guru Freddie Roach, who will be working the corner of Chinese Olympic legend Zou Shiming at the CotaiArena, to finalize the timetable.

Pacquiao, 35, is a slim 2-1 favorite to exact payback against Bradley, who was awarded a 12-round split decision in their first meeting in June 2012.

Bradley, 30, stung by claims that he was the recipient of a lucky decision, has vowed to prove his detractors wrong this time. (Nick Giongco)