Gerry Penalosa left impressed as Pacquiao nearly knocks out sparring partner
Manny Pacquiao in a cheerful mood after the workout. Gerry Ramos

HOLLYWOOD – Former world champion Gerry Penalosa came out impressed after watching Manny Pacquiao spar at the Wild Card gym on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).

Not that he’s being biased or pulling the leg of those around him, but he said from the looks of it, his longtime 37-year-old pal looks very much in shape for his April 9 welterweight clash against Tim Bradley.

Penalosa arrived in Los Angeles last Monday and was among the few people allowed inside the gym to watch Pacquiao spar for seven rounds against Ghislain Maduma and Lydell Rhodes.

Maduma, a Congalese, was the first to go up against the Filipino ring great for four rounds, followed by Rhodes, an Oklahoma native, for the remaining three.

The 43-year-old Penalosa noted Pacquiao almost knocked the lights out of Rhodes after connecting with his patented left hook against the American.

“Na-groggy nga, e. Saved by the bell lang,” said the two-time world champion.

Penalosa also noted the proper conditioning of the eight-time world champion, who he believes, will be using more of his right hook in his third meeting with Bradley.

“Maganda yung hook niya, e. Mukhang yun ang pina-practice nila,” said the native of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, who hurriedly went back to Manila the same night.

Marvin Somodio, the trusted Filipino understudy of legendary trainer Freddie Roach, would not confirm Penalosa’s observation, although he is convinced the sparring session was the best Pacquiao had in this training camp now on its seventh week.

“Pinaka-magandang sparring niya ito,” said the soft-spoken Somodio. “Mabilis (siya) at tsaka yung timing andun na.”

The writing on the wall for Bradley, according to the trainer.

“Ready na siya,” Somodio curtly said.

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