The Manny Pacquaio-Floyd Mayweather fight on May 2 is already being considered the biggest boxing event of all time – or at least since Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden in 1971.
The fight was five years in the making and it will undoubtedly be one of the greatest sporting events of 2015. The fact that it is being held in the boxing mecca, Las Vegas, only adds to the magnitude of this spectacle.
Lynn Tech graduate and professional boxer Rashidi Ellis will be a huge part of the preparations for one of the fighters. Pacquaio’s trainer, Freddie Roach, contacted Ellis’s trainer, former Lynn boxing gym owner Alex Rivera, and Ellis has accepted the offer to serve as Pacquaio’s sparring partner for the fight.
That means that Ellis will be in Hollywood, California, at the Pacquaio training camp working on a daily basis with the legendary boxer from the Philippines in sparring sessions and conditioning workouts.
The 21-year-old Ellis, a future welterweight championship contender himself with a 13-0 (10 knockouts) professional record, will head to Puerto Rico this weekend for a fight and then travel to Hollywood to begin workouts with Pacquaio.
Why did the Pacquiao camp seek out Rashidi Ellis as its sparring partner?
Rivera said that Ellis’s speed, elusiveness, and style are similar to Mayweather, who has an undefeated record and holds the unofficial title of best pound-for-pound boxer in the game.
“Freddie Roach studied Rashidi on video and he noticed his speed and the similarities he has to Mayweather,” said Rivera. “Rashidi throws a lot of punches like Mayweather. We’re very excited that we’re going to be part of the biggest fight in boxing history. We see this opportunity as a great learning experience for Rashidi.”
Ellis, who played football at Tech and is a 2012 graduate, said he hasn’t met Pacquiao before, but he’s thrilled to be going to California.
“The fact they compare my style to one of the all-time greats (Mayweather) is really nice,” said Ellis. “I’m excited to spar with Pacquiao. It’s an honor.”
Ellis says his strengths as a fighter are “my speed, accuracy, and defense.” Ellis is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 147 pounds.
Rashidi is the son of Ronald Ellis and Margaret Ellis, . His older brother, Akeem, and younger sister, Rashida, are also boxers. Rashida is a candidate for the U.S. Olympic team.
“My father has been at all my fights,” said Ellis. “We’re all excited about this opportunity. I’ll learn a lot from Pacquaio. It’s the best experience in the world. I’ll just do my thing in the ring. But my main goal is to be a world champion myself one day.”
Rashidi said residents can follow him on Instagram and Twitter in the weeks leading up the fight.