Monday, October 12, 2009

Former champ to spar with Pacquiao


By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star)


MANILA, Philippines - All eyes will be on Jose Luis Castillo when the former world champion from Mexico spars with Manny Pacquiao tomorrow in Baguio City.

The 35-year-old Castillo, the former WBC lightweight champion who’s had some great fights with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the late Diego Corrales, is now up in Baguio.

He flew in the other day but couldn’t proceed straight to the country’s summer capital due to landslides and flooding brought about by Typhoon “Pepeng.”

Wasting no time, Pacquiao ordered that Castillo be flown to Baguio, and the boxer’s friend, Chavit Singson, was quick to lend his 28-seater private plane.

“He just came in today,” said chief trainer Freddie Roach as he enjoyed his day off in chilly Baguio.

“He’ll spar on Tuesday with Manny. I’ll ask him to do three rounds but we’ll be doing seven for the day,” added Roach.

Castillo came in with American super-lightweight Danny Escobar, and should be out on the road today to get their rhythm going.

There were questions on Castillo’s current condition, and whether he’s up to the task to be part of Pacquiao’s training camp will be known tomorrow.

“He says he’s in shape. But I can’t tell you anything until Tuesday,” said Roach, who has watched Pacquiao spar a total of 31 rounds after two weeks.

Castillo fought Mayweather twice in 2002, and came close to winning the first bout. He squared off with Corrales also twice, winning the second by knockout. He also fought Ricky Hatton in 2007 but lost via knockout.

Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon have provided Pacquiao company in the ring although Roach said the latter could be flying home by Saturday.

Two days ago, Pacquiao sparred seven rounds, and so far Roach is satisfied.

“He dominated both guys yesterday,” added Roach, who also made Pacquiao swim for close to 30 minutes since he skipped running due to the foul weather.

Roach also denied reports that Pacquiao is planning to leave for the United States earlier than the planned Oct. 24 schedule.

“That’s a lie. Whoever said that was lying. I just talked to Manny and it’s still Oct. 24. That’s where it is,” said Roach.

Leaving on Oct. 24 means Pacquiao had gone training in Baguio for five weeks. They arrive in Los Angeles on a Saturday, rest the following day, and head back to the gym Monday.

They will spend two weeks at the Wild Card Gym for two tough weeks, and drive to Las Vegas on Monday of fight week for the final phase of training.

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