THE scheduled start of the sparring session of boxing star Manny Pacquiao on Thursday was cancelled at the last minute after his supposed sparmate Korean Min Wook Kim failed to arrive in the country.
An internal problem with his manager back in Korea reportedly led the reigning Orient Pacific Boxing Federation light-welterweight champion to leave behind his handler without permission.
“Nagka-problema daw sa manager niya yung Koreano,” said former two-division world champion Gerry Penalosa, who personally suggested Min as possible Pacquiao sparmate as the Filipino ring idol prepares for his comeback fight against Brandon Rios on November 24 in Macau.
“Ngayon talaga ang dating nun eh. Gustong-gusto ni Min na maka-spar si Manny. Kaso biglang nawala,” bared Penalosa.
The San Carlos City pride could not give a direct answer as to where the Korea is after he left his house following a misunderstanding with his manager
“Naglayas daw eh. Kaya hindi ko tuloy alam ngayon kung paano ko kokontakin,” he said.
But Penalosa swears the Korean can be a quality sparmate for Pacquiao, who has not fought since suffering a stunning sixth-round knockout at the hands of Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
“Parang si Rios kumilos yan. Mabilis saka sugod ng sugod. Walang takot pumasok yan sa depensa,” said Penalosa of Min, who recently scored an 11th round technical knockout over Japanese rival Valentine Hosokowa.
Pacquiao is set to begin sparring in his training camp four weeks earlier than usual in an effort to get back in shape following an 11-month hiatus.
“Dun mo makikita na desisido talaga si Manny na manalo,” said Penalosa who recently visited his close pal in General Santos City.
“Saka nakausap ko siya, at ramdam ko ang determinasyon niyang manalo. Gusto niya na manalo ng explosive talaga, hindi `yung panalo lang,” he added.
This developed as Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz denied that Team Pacquiao is currently looking for a new conditioning coach who will fill in the void left by Alex Ariza.
Koncz insists the Pacquiao camp is not hiring the services of conditioning coach Gavin McMillan.
“We did not hire him (McMillan). He is coming over with Freddie (Roach) all because of Zou Shiming. Gavin is not coming here for the purpose of Manny,” Koncz said.
He added there is no immediate need for a Pacquiao conditioning coach as old timers Nonoy Neri and Buboy Fernandez have already been doing a remarkable job on the former eight-time world champion.
“We’ve got our program and Nonoy’s doing a good job of implementing it. Part of what we’re doing is still a little bit of Alex’s technique but a lot of it is Manny’s own technique,” said Koncz.