WITH a fully-healed right shoulder and almost a year off, Manny Pacquiao feels like a brand-new warrior when he goes up in the ring against Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas three weeks from now.
Five weeks in training camp for his April 9 welterweight showdown with his long-time American rival, the 37-year-old Filipino said there been hardly any problem or pain in the same shoulder which was operated on last May for a tear on his rotator cuff.
Pacquiao added he’s been comfortable again using his right shoulder during training and sparring after injuring it in the course of his 12-round title bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. 10 months ago.
“In the first two weeks of our training, we used (the shoulder), punching hard,” said the Pacman in an interview with the LA Times in his first day of training at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles since arriving in the U.S last Saturday.
The injured shoulder kept Pacquiao out of boxing for almost a year after undergoing surgery just four days after losing a unanimous decision to Mayweather in boxing’s richest fight ever.
But now that he’s set for a return in what the congressman from Sarangani province had said would be his farewell fight, Pacquiao is as thrilled as a kid getting his first ever Christmas present.
“I’ve rested for almost a full year. It motivated me, and my body feels good, almost like I’m starting in boxing,” he said.
The eight-time world division champion is set to spar for the first time in the U.S on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) against Canadian-Congolese Ghislain Maduma, American Lydell Rhodes, and possibly, Frankie Gomez, and Jose Ramirez.
Maduma and Rhodes had been with Pacquiao since the start of his training camp in General Santos City.
After going 10-rounds in sparring prior to leaving for Los Angeles, Pacquiao may have to take it easy for the time being, according to trainer Freddie Roach, who noted the Filipino boxing icon is still feeling some jetlag following a 13-hour direct flight from Manila.
“I’ll give him rest with only eight rounds against the four (sparring partners) in the next three days,” said the 56-year-old, five-time Trainer of the Year. “Manny looks like he’s still suffering from jetlag and needs some respite after that long trip from Manila.”