Manny Pacquiao finally broke the news that he’s been using World Boxing Association junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara as one of his sparring partners to get ready for his May 2nd fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It’s unclear if the Cuban Lara is the so-called secret weapon sparring partners that Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has been bragging about or not. If so, then that would explain Roach being so hush-hush about it. That also might explain why Pacquiao might not be doing so well in his sparring sessions.
Lara has the identical movement of Mayweather, so it’s not hard to predict that Pacquiao would find himself having a lot of problems against Lara. We’re talking about a 5’10” fighter with blazing fast hand speed, a southpaw stance, pinpoint accuracy and excellent power.
Pacquiao is used to fighting stationary fighters that stand in one place and don’t have much hand speed. Lara might be giving Pacquiao all he can handle in the ring.
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times said “Trainer Freddie Roach is not entirely satisfied with how Pacquiao has looked in sparring, specifically in how Pacquiao is not cutting off the ring as sharply as he did in November when he scored a career best six knockdowns of then unbeaten Chris Algieri.”
Mayweather would likely be a lot more aggressive than Lara is, and that’s something that Pacquiao might have to adjust to when he gets inside the ring with Mayweather on May 2nd.
If he’s assuming that he’s going to run around the ring like Lara, then Pacquiao might not be ready for what he’s going to be facing on May 2nd. But I can definitely see how Pacquiao could struggle against someone like Lara during a sparring session because there wouldn’t be a catch-weight handicap to weaken Lara like we saw when Pacquiao fought Margarito at a catch-weight at 150 for the vacant WBC light middleweight title in 2010.
Pacquiao’s sparring with Lara would be with Lara weighing whatever he is right now. We could be talking about a 170+ pound Lara. The Cuban fighter is in between fights right now, so it’s not as if his weight would be low.
Pacquiao has reportedly been focusing on throwing a lot of flurries, according to Pugmire. Obviously fighting like that against a guy like Mayweather is going to cause Pacquiao to get lit up like a Christmas tree. He can’t be throwing combinations against Mayweather because he’ll get hit way too much.
Throwing combinations works for Pacquiao against the guys that his promoter Bob Arum has been scratching up for him. Pacquiao used to try the combination punching against Juan Manuel Marquez, and it generally led to Pacquiao getting countered like mad. If he tries that with Mayweather it’s likely going to be far, far worse.
“I’m coming to the ring to win the fight and bring honor to my country,” Pacquiao said via the latimes.com.
Pacquiao was suffering leg problems recently in the form of cramps, but supposedly the cramps have disappeared. Whether they’ll stay away in the head of the battle on May 2nd is anyone’s guess. With the movement that Mayweather will be using in this fight, I would not be surprised at all if Pacquiao starts cramping again.