by Nick Giongco
Jaber Zayani, the newly-signed sparmate of Manny Pacquiao, knew about the Filipino’s speed but it wasn’t until he stepped inside the ring with him that he felt bedazzled by it.
“His speed, his speed,” mumbled Zayani in a heavily-accented English after going just two rounds Tuesday with the reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) ‘regular’ welterweight king, who faces WBA ‘super’ champion Keith Thurman on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“It’s amazing at his age 40 that he has this (blinding) speed,” said Zayani, who alternated with Australian big guy Tim Tszyu.
Zayani, unbeaten in 16 fights with nine KOs, was tapped to serve as one of two sparmates for the Philippines training camp and will be in the ring again Thursday and Saturday for Pacquiao, who then leaves for the US.
Speed is one key factor that Pacquiao will showcase against Thurman, younger by ten years and athletics and also undefeated with a 29-0 card with 22 KOs.
In his training under lead trainer Buboy Fernandez, they have been focusing too much on speed and throwing punches in bunches in an effort as well to bedazzle Thurman.
When Team Pacquiao relocates to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, a different set of sparmates will take over from Tszyu and Zayani.
Conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who flies out of Manila Thursday night, said Shane Mosley Jr. and A.B. Lopez, are waiting on the wings.