LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao showcased an arsenal of devastating blows Monday during his last sparring session with Freddie Roach in Los Angeles as all signs point to an electrifying win by the Filipino legend over Jessie Vargas this weekend at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Pacquiao, attempting to knock the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown off Vargas’ head, sparred four rounds with Ray Betran, added another four with the mitts and did a little of the speedbag, double-end and the heavybag.
Roach had nothing but praises for Pacquiao, who banged his pair of pads like a young fighter on the rise.
“He’s hitting harder than ever,” said Roach just before the entire team made the 300-mile journey from Tinseltown mostly by land.
While Roach and Pacquiao would still train until Thursday, their last workout on Monday at the Wild Card Boxing Club, had a more strategic touch to it.
As Pacquiao slammed his fists into Roach’s mitts, every blow brought a sharp feeling on both his shoulders.
“I had to do something about the pain as it felt like both my shoulders were inflamed,” said Roach.
Despite the hurt and pain, Roach insists it is a good sign as it only meant that Pacquiao’s striking remained topnotch, something he badly needs to send a strong message.
“Fans are fickle,” said Roach, admitting that Pacquiao’s failure to score a knockout the last seven years has affected his popularity.
“They don’t want to see decisions, they want knockouts,” added Roach.
And that’s exactly what’s on Pacquiao’s mind and Roach as well heading into Saturday night’s collision course with the 27-year-old Mexican-American banger.
But Roach cautions that it would be foolish to answer the bell obsessed with posting a KO win as it could only mess up their gameplan.
“A knockout is a bonus but from what I have been seeing, we could very well get our wish (of seeing a KO),” said Roach.
Pacquiao appears to be affected by comments that he has lost his punching power and this is a reason why the fighter has been looking for ways to land a knockout punch.
That could very well be one of about four that he kept on doing with gusto at the gym: his trademark left straight, a lead shotgun right jab, a right hook and a left to the midsection.
In about five days, Pacquiao and Roach are going to get their answer.