Pacquiao needs to be impressive


Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines spars with his trainer Freddie Roach at a media workout at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in preparation for his upcoming boxing match against Timothy Bradley. Pacquiao will be defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight championship crown against WBO junior welterweight champion Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Saturday, June 9. AP/REED SAXON

HOLLYWOOD, California – The gym had been cleared, and the wait for Manny Pacquiao had begun. He would spar six rounds this day to prepare for his fight with Timothy Bradley, and there was security at the door of the Wild Card to make sure no one but the usual entourage and assorted fight types were on hand to watch.

No cameras, no video. Nothing to give away what Pacquiao plans to do in the ring Saturday night against Bradley, though trainer Freddie Roach hardly seemed concerned.

Listen to Roach, and Pacquiao couldn’t have picked a better opponent. After struggling in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, he gets a fighter who doesn’t hit all that hard and shouldn’t be able to match Pacquiao’s speed.

“He’s no killer, but he tries hard,” Roach said of Bradley. “Manny should eat him up as he comes forward. I think Manny should look really good in this fight.”

And if he doesn’t? Well, then you finally can forget about that big fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that now seems destined never to happen.

“If he looks bad, he retires,” Roach said. “At least I’ll tell him to. And he may be the first one who will listen to me.”

Roach knows something about aging fighters. He once was one himself, losing five of his last six fights and taking the kind of beatings that may have led to the Parkinson’s he suffers from today. He fought on club cards and in casinos far from the Las Vegas Strip, always sure that in his next fight he would do better.

The fighter is almost always the last one to acknowledge it’s over and, though Pacquiao is only 33, he’s been in a lot of fights and a lot of wars.

Pacquiao plans to fight only a few more times anyway. But to make sure he understands when it’s finally time to quit, fighter and trainer have made a pact.

“I always ask Freddie, what’s my strength like, what’s my speed,” Pacquiao said. “If my speed is going down I want to know. I would listen to Freddie.”

So far, neither trainer nor fighter have noticed much slippage, at least in the gym. Pacquiao blames his performance against Marquez to distractions he was facing in his family life, and the fact that Marquez is a very tough matchup for him style-wise.

Still, as he sat in a small dressing room getting his hands wrapped after finally arriving in his Ferrari, Pacquiao said he knows this is a fight in which he must look impressive.

“I want to prove that I’m still young, and I can still fight,” he said.

To do that, the Filipino slugger is trying to block out the distractions that accumulated during his remarkable run. He sold his interest in a casino back home, got rid of his cockfighting ranch, and stopped playing basketball. More importantly, perhaps, he rededicated himself to his wife and his religion, spending most of his nights now doing Bible study.

There will be no concert stretching into the early morning hours on the Las Vegas Strip after this fight, as had been Pacquiao’s habit. There may not even be a run at governor in his home province of Sarangani, something Pacquiao said he would make his mind up about later this year.

He says he’s at peace with himself finally because he believes he has eternal salvation. It’s not a gimmick to sell the fight, but a major change in his life. And it worries some in his entourage, who wonder if Pacquiao can still bring himself to be angry in the ring.

The champ laughs when asked about it.

“Yes,” Pacquiao says simply.

On this day, just a little more than a week before the fight, Pacquiao goes three rounds each with two different fighters. He starts slow, constantly grabbing at his headgear as if doesn’t fit, while trying to fend off some rushes by his younger sparring partners. He gets hit with several hard left hooks, but by the last few rounds is delivering more punishment than he is taking.

Roach knows what he’s looking for, and he likes what he sees. Fighter and trainer have been together for 26 fight camps now over 11 years, and the partnership has made them both wealthy and famous in different ways.

The late trainer Eddie Futch had told him to never open a gym. Too much trouble, too much hassle, too many fighters skipping out without paying. Indeed, there’s a sign at the counter in the gym upstairs in a rundown strip mall reminding everyone that May dues of $50 are now overdue.

The Wild Card draws aspiring fighters, and actors who think they’re fighters. They train together democratically, but when Pacquiao arrives the gym is his alone.

“I started this because I thought you never know when the next Muhammad Ali is going to walk through the door,” Roach said. “Next thing I know, here comes Manny Pacquiao.”

Their time together is inevitably drawing to a close, because no fighter escapes the ravages of age. Just like Mayweather no longer seems to have the legs to stay away from an opponent for 12 rounds, Pacquiao showed in recent fights that he might be becoming beatable, too.

He’ll make millions to fight the unbeaten Bradley, though he knows it’s not the fight fans really want to see. Not much he can do about that, Pacquiao says, as long as Mayweather insists on getting the lion’s share of the purse when they should be splitting it equally.

“If he wants to fight it’s up to him,” Pacquiao said. “I’m ready to fight.”

No doubt, because Pacquiao always seems to be up for a good fight.

The real question now is how much longer he will fight.

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  • joshua kings

    hindi pwedeng matalo si pacquiao dito sa laban niya kay bradley; kaya nga $5million ang bayad kay bradley; dahil KO siya;

    yan ang usapan eh….gaya din kay clottey; kay mosley.  kay marquez.

    dahil sa mayweather-pacquiao fight, mga $100-$200 million ang amount involve; nakapanghihinayang yan kund di ito matuloy…..lalo na sa mga promoters at PPV.   sa lahat.  pati na waterboy, may stake idn dyan…lalo na mga gambling syndicates……

    kung lalabas ng kulungan si floyd by sept, puwede pa siguro ihabol ang fight sa nov  or dec 2012. at the latest,may 2013 which may prove to be unlucky for either one of them.

    pag nagkataon, may tigpi $50 million bawa’t isa sa kanila.  di na masama, ano?

    and they can retire after that, laughing all the way to the bank……

    at si mama dionisia ay may regalo na namang ebon: gaya ng evon lipstick, make-up, whitening cream, etc.  lol.  joklang po…

  • simotsaidalkhalast

    All u need to do  is be YOU to be impressive. Forget about scientific boxing. You are born a fighter not just a boxer. Boxers fear of getting knocked down fighters dont. Boxers talk too much outside the ring, fighters let their punch do the talking. Be the old manny that we used to see, never afraid of getting hurt because it is what fighting is all about. Fight like you have nothing to lose because that  it is how real fighters fight.  In the  end  it will always your arm and the Philippine flag with it will rise up in the boxing arena. 

  • walaKA

    haaaayy..Crab mentality…

  • joeybg

    Ang 1k tamang 10k , di kayang pabagsakin ni Paking si Bradley, magbuhat ng isama ni Paking ang asawa niya bawat laban hindi na siya makapagpabagsak, O sige Bradley by decision, bastat ang mga judge hindi iyong last fight niya, bagong mga judges.

  • burayot

    ang importante, sabihan ang asawa nya na hwag muna silang mag-away…..buwisit yang mga babae sa trabaho.  sa kama, ok sila.

  • robrano

    He would impress very much when explaining the real reason why he is so deadly afraid of blood tests. His saying that it would weaken him is extremely stupid and no other one has ever claimed that.
    One possible reason is that blood tests would show some kind of doping which can not be found at the urine test. Like, f.i. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which would result in muscles, speed, stamina, fast recovery, all what are his advantages. Several athletes lost their titles and medals since there is a new method to find it, but only in blood, not the usual urine tests.
    And Manny fights only where blood tests are not obligatory, esp. Las Vegas. But he did not entertain an offer of the worlds richest man to fight a yound Mexican in Mexico City (with blood test) for a bourse of 65 million dollar, about 2500 million pesos, plus all the other income like TV etc. That is what Mayweather thinks about when he imnsists on blood tests, he is not afraid about and would not “become weak”.

    • omg11

      LOL! Just when you know that google will give you all the information that you want. Some people are still so ignorant of what is happening. Or maybe some people simply do not want to read information they do not want or contrary to their belief. People are already tired of explaining that Manny already agreed to all blood tests. Besides, all those boxers (Peterson for example) using PEDS were caught through their URINE, not blood. Please educate yourself before posting.

    • randolph

       i don’t understand a thing bro…

    • Jun Bonganay


    • J Mapagmahal

      Tanga yata tong si robrano, they do blood test on Pacquaio, either way before the fight or right after the fight. he just doesn’t like it done very close to the fight. He believes he will get weak, some people are like. I am.
      Dude quit commenting here if you don’t know what you talking ’bout fool

  • Philcor

    Manny Pacquiao, i admired you before when you were still that hungry boxer…

  • ryepim

    I’m for Pacquiao, but he seems distracted na talaga. Di na sya humahamon ng parang Toro.. di tulad noon.

  • Night

    pac pac pac pac boom……. knock bradley out Manny!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO GO GO GOD BLESS… MAY YOU WIN AND FURTHER HELP OUR COUNTRYMEN!!!! MABUHAY ANG PINOY!

    • robrano

       What he is helping?

      • Night

        you’ve been to sarangani??? punta ka muna dun bago ka mag magaling 

      • J Mapagmahal

        Oye pinche robrano! Estas ok? Por favor no diga nada porque no sabes nada. Tienes selos guey? Y quieres aprender mas ingles, joto.

    • joshua kings

      helping?  siya nga ang kumokolekta ng pork barrel funds, hehehe….

      o, ano?  ba’t ganyan ang tingin mo?

      si chaveet ka ba?

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