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Pacquiao sparring levels up

The arrival of Lydell Rhodes, a compact right-hander from Las Vegas, took Manny Pacquiao’s buildup for his April 9 fight with Tim Bradley a few notches higher as he joins Congolese-Canadian Ghislain Maduma in the sparring rotation in General Santos City.

Rhodes, 28, was picked up from GenSan airport by Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz, who has advised the American fighter to rest so he can be ready for sparring tomorrow.

“He (Rhodes) told me that he hardly slept during the entire flight from Los Angeles to Manila and Manila to GenSan,” said Koncz yesterday afternoon.

Rhodes, holder of a 23-1-1 win-loss-draw record with 11 KOs, had actually worked with Pacquiao two years ago when the Filipino eight-division champion was also getting ready for the Bradley rematch.

Rhodes will probably have at least five sparring sessions down the line with the comebacking Pacquiao, who intends to head back to the US not later than March 15 for the final phase of his preparation at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Rhodes, like Bradley, stands 5-5 and his movement and physical similarities with Bradley should help Pacquiao figure out what’s going to happen next month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.