By NICK GIONGCO
It took Freddie Roach about a week of intense training to conclude that there is no problem with Manny Pacquiao’s stamina, strength and endurance.
Roach told the Bulletin from General Santos City that Pacquiao is “in great shape” and that six weeks remove from the April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, the fighting congressman “is about 70 percent” in terms of readiness.
The focal point in the remaining weeks of training will be on their gameplan as Roach will get unleash a new set of sparring partners for Pacquiao when they begin the next phase of their buildup at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Team Pacquiao is set to leave for the US this Saturday and Roach said two new recruits– former world champions Steve Forbes and Kendall Holt—are already standing by and itching to get their hands on Pacquiao.
The past week or so, Pacquiao has been working with unbeaten Lydell Rhodes but Roach said the change of scenery and the addition of Holt and Forbes should put Pacquiao on his toes.
Forbes, despite his being 37 years old, is the best guy out there for Pacquiao to spar with, according to Roach, who celebrated his 54th birthday yesterday.
“Please don’t tell Manny that it’s my birthday. I want it to be just another (working) day,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who has been calling the shots in Pacquiao’s corner since mid-2001.
Roach said Forbes is the closest thing Team Pacquiao can get to a Bradley clone and his presence should help them come up with the moves to score a clear-cut win over the American fighter.
Bradley beat Pacquiao on a hotly-contested split decision two years ago and is eager to prove that the decision by the judges in June 2012 was not an aberration.
But Roach said he is whipping Pacquiao into a battering ram for the Bradley rematch to prove that he was deserving of the verdict the first time.
Pacquiao is a slim 2-1 favorite to score payback in the scheduled 12-rounder that takes place at the MGM Grand.