PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — DESPITE going two weight classes up, Manny Pacquiao is confident he can take the punches of a natural 150-pounder like Oscar De La Hoya.
While the blows may be a lot heavier this time compared when he was campaigning as a lightweight, Pacquiao doesn’t see any problem keeping up with De La Hoya for their Dec. 6 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel.
“Sa sparring pa lang , ramdam mo na `yung lakas ng mga suntok hindi katulad nung nasa 135 pounds ka. Pero kaya naman natin,” said Pacquiao during a break in his training camp at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.
Pacquiao is fighting at 147 pounds for the first time, five months since scoring a ninth-round knockout of American David Diaz to wrests the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight belt.
It’s also a big advantage to him that they’ll both use eight-ounce gloves for the 12-round bout. Eight-ounce gloves have less padding and suits just perfectly a puncher like Pacquiao.
“Siyempre, eight-ounce gloves ang gamit naming mararamdaman ko yung suntok niya, pero mararamdaman din niya yung suntok ko,” said the 29-year old southpaw from General Santos City.
“Ang maganda lang, dati ko ng gamit ito (eight-ounce) , so hindi na ako maninibago pagdating sa gloves.”
Trainer Freddie Roach also believes Pacquiao can take on the punches of his 35-year old opponent, whose left hook remains to be his potent weapon.
Roach said Pacquiao has been doing good in sparring against fighters taller and bigger than him.
“I’ve got Amir Khan, who has a great left hand, very fast. He and Manny are really going at it,” said Roach of the Briton, silver medal winner in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“Manny had a little bit of trouble with Amir’s jab early, but then he attacks it and takes it away from him and has great results later in rounds.”
The famed American trainer added that the Filipino has yet to face an opponent as big and as solid as De La Hoya, the former Olympic gold medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Games.
But having seen Pacquiao handled Khan, middleweights Rashad Holloway and Marvin Cordova and Victor Ortiz previously, Roach said the four-time world champion would just be fine.
“Victor Ortiz – he and Manny went at it, I mean toe-to-toe. Victor’s a good puncher, very strong kid,” he said of the welterweight prospect, who, according to grapevine, beat up De La Hoya in their sparring at the Big Bear camp in California.
“When I saw how he (Pacquiao) handled the biggest sparring partners, I was very pleased.”