Pacquiao begins sparring

posted March 18, 2015 at 12:01 am
by Ronnie Nathanielsz

MICHAEL KONCZ, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao’s longtime adviser, is keeping an eye on the random drug tests being conducted by the US Anti Doping Agency on the Filipino icon, even as the most popular fighter in the world begins sparring behind closed doors at the Wild Card Gym today (Tuesday in LA).

Well-known boxing writer/columnist and author Scoop Malinowski indicated he was concerned that the US Anti Doping Agency random drug tests may be faked to frame Pacquiao.

photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank

“I have ever so slight suspicion that (Al) Haymon could scheme to frame Pacquiao with a fake positive drug test via his association with Travis Tygart at USDA,” said Malinowski, who also indicated he was “not saying it will happen, just a remote possibility. Hopefully, it won’t.”

 He said a comment by undefeated welterweight Keith Thurman, who scored an impressive win over Robert Guerrero and reportedly blurted out that if Pacquiao drops out of the May 2 date, he would replace him if called by Haymon.

“I find that very strange and a red flag,” Malinowski said.

 But Koncz was smarter than many people give him credit for. He told the New Standard/Viva Sports that as early as two weeks before the fight contract was signed that he had hired a qualified consultant to act as a watchdog just to make sure nothing went wrong.

Pacquiao had his first drug test, while training at the Pan Pacific Park Park early morning and took it, calmly indicating that from his point of view, there was nothing to worry about.

However, up to now, there have been no reports of any blood tests done on Mayweather.

Koncz also said he is getting the sparring partners of Pacquiao to sign a “confidentially agreement,” which would prevent them from giving interviews to media about their sparring with Pacquiao.

He said one sparring partner Kenneth Simms, an unbeaten  young welterweight from Chicago, with a record of 5-0 with 2 knockouts, had already arrived, while another one is expected tomorrow.

He is believed to be Finland’s Edis Tatli, who was born in Kosovo and has a record of 24-1 with 8 knockouts. He lost by a majority decision in a WBA lightweight title fight to Richard Abril on Sept. 20, 2014.

Koncz said Pacquiao was looking fabulous, even as he appealed to media to respect their decision to lock down the gym and not allow any camera crews or reporters inside during Pacquiao’s training.

Celebrated Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said Manny is in good shape and commended assistant trainer Bubiy Fernandez, Roger Fernandez and Nonoy Neri for handling Pacquiao’s preparation, while he (Roach) was in Macau with Zou Shiming who lost in his bid to win the IBF flyweight title from Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng.

“I promise to make Pacquiao as competitive as we would want him to be to achieve our target of winning by knockout,” said Roach. “We have to win this fight, because if we fail, the entire world will be disappointed.”

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