Manny Pacquiao and sparring partner AB Lopez
Sparmate keeps up with Pacquiao, sees Thurman's downfall
Dino Maragay (Philstar.com) - July 12, 2019 - 11:24am

LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao further honed his craft in sparring at the Wild Card Gym here Thursday (Friday Manila time), going for a total of eight rounds against two young sparmates.

Pacquiao went four rounds each against Jessie Roman and Abraham “AB” Lopez, with the latter giving the Filipino icon a run for his money during their session.

The fighting senator is just a little over week away from his showdown with fellow champion Keith Thurman, and his sparmates are confident they got the job done.

Lopez, a 23-year-old fighter out of Rowland Heights, California, stood out as he was able to tag Pacquiao with solid jabs to the head and some combinations to the body.

Told that he might have even hurt the 40-year-old Pacquiao, Lopez downplayed the idea.

“No, no. Manny is really strong, he's really aggressive and smart. He just keeps getting better and better,” he told a couple of Filipino scribes.

“My head and my body have been hurting,” added Lopez, who had a slight swelling in right eye thanks to Pacquiao’s signature left straight.

Lopez, who has so far sparred at least 45 rounds with Pacquiao, said he did his homework by watching videos of Thurman’s fights.

“I tried my best to look like Thurman and fight like him. I hope Manny's picking it up. Manny looks great,” he added.

Even with the fight just around the corner and his trainers sometimes holding him back, Pacquiao isn’t done with the hard work. He is still scheduled to spar on Saturday and next Monday.

But Lopez is confident that Pacquiao is already good to go.

“He's there and he's ready. If he needs to fight (already) this Saturday, I believe he can and he'll win. But an extra week won't hurt Manny,” Lopez continued.

As intense as Thursday’s sparring session was, Pacquiao said he had fun.

“Sa sparring, I feel good. Maganda yung condition ko. Hindi ako napagod. Kung kailangang gumalaw, makakagalaw ako (My conditioning is great. I did not get tired. If I needed to),” said Pacquiao, who even taunted Roman by hitting him in the head simultaneously with both hands.

“Naglalaro ako (I’m playing around),” he added.

After sparring, Pacquiao immediately worked the mitts with trainer Buboy Fernandez for six rounds — proof of his superb conditioning.

Lopez, for his part, said Thurman cannot withstand this version of Pacquiao next Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Sunday Manila time).

“There's no way Thurman can prepare for Manny. The best he can do is prepare his mind for the best. But Manny's just gonna overpower him,” said Lopez.

“I see Manny stopping Thurman in the later rounds.”

BOXING KEITH THURMAN MANNY PACQUIAO
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