Pacquiao is almost there - Roach

After almost two weeks strutting his stuff in the presence of his master trainer, Manny Pacquiao has obviously convinced Freddie Roach that he is indeed looking forward to scoring an emphatic win over Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.

Roach said Pacquiao is already "70 percent" in shape and this assessment was put to the test on Thursday when the Filipino star went nine rounds of sparring at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

Despite the flashes of brilliance from Pacquiao, Roach said there is still a lot of work to be done.

Although Pacquiao "looked good," according to ace publicist Fred Sternburg, "Freddie said Manny needs to keep working on his speed and distance."

With four weeks to go before crunch time, Pacquiao and Roach would be working to improve on these facets of the game.

Pacquiao arrived in the US on Oct. 27 and showed up for training two days later.

His first two days - most specially his initial sparring session - was unimpressive but Pacquiao made up for his lackadaisical showing on his second day of banging bodies after getting rid of jet lag.

"He was better than normal during his second day of sparring," said Top Rank big boss Bob Arum, who was present during the first and second day of sparring.


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