(Reuters) - Manny Pacquiao is more than three weeks out from his next title defense against unbeaten American Chris Algieri but the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight champion is already in devastating form, trainer Freddie Roach says.
Sparring partner Viktor Postol, the number one contender in the World Boxing Council’s super lightweight division, would undoubtedly agree after the Filipino southpaw left him with a broken nose in training last week.
Pacquiao (56-5-2), who has won titles in a record eight different weight classes, suffered successive defeats in 2012 but has got back on track with two impressive wins over Brandon Rios and Timothy Bradley.
A win over former kickboxer Algieri could bring the long-awaited super fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr one step closer.
Roach, speaking during a promotional visit to Hong Kong, does not believe Algieri will pose Pacquiao too many problems at the Venetian Macau on Nov. 22.
“The thing is I have my number one contender from Ukraine and he’s a very good boxer and he could beat Algieri right now,” Tuesday’s South China Morning Post quoted Roach as saying.
“That’s why I brought him in as a number one sparring partner because he has that style.
“Manny broke Postol’s nose three days ago. But Postol’s okay. I train him. He’s a fighter, he’s a tough kid and he’s not going home.”
The 30-year-old Algieri has a 20-0 professional record and won the WBO light-welterweight title last month by a split decision against Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov.
Pacquiao has not scored a knockout since stopping Miguel Cotto in Nov. 2009, and was himself knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 in his first outing after losing to Bradley the same year.
While some have questioned how much gas the 35-year-old has left after 63 professional fights, Roach said Pacquiao was way ahead of schedule.
“Manny Pacquiao is in great shape. Our strength coach came in 10 days before me. He started working him and by the time I worked with him, we were sparring 12 rounds in the mitts,” he added.
“Pacquiao wasn’t even breathing heavy. His condition is terrific right now.”
Roach also allayed fears the Filipino could peak too soon.
“That’s why I want him to come to Hong Kong. We weren’t going to come because the fight is more important. But the thing is that we are way ahead of schedule,” he said.
Roach had no words of comfort for Pacquiao’s sparring partners, however.
“We still have three hard weeks of work in front of us. With three good sparring partners, it’s working out well. I have one more sparring partner coming over as a reserve, but I will use him as well.”
Reporting by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Ian Ransom
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