HOLLYWOOD—Life goes on for Manny Pacquiao regardless of the result of his fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 (Dec. 9 in Manila).
If he wins by knockout as he envisions, well and good. If he wins by decision again, so be it. An upset would be difficult to accept, but Pacquiao said he can live with that. He won’t whine and complain like what Marquez have been doing for eight years.
“No excuses,” Pacquiao told Manila-based sportswriters at his unit at the gated Palazzo here. “Whatever happens I always praise God.”
Reminded that he’s been promising a knockout to finally silence Marquez’s loud mouth, Pacquiao said: “Praise God kung ganoon (if that happens).”
Of course, the Filipino ring icon is determined to show Marquez, his bashers and doubters that he’s still boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
Coming off a bum decision loss to unbeaten Timothy Bradley last June, Pacquiao also wants to show the world that as he approaches his 34th birthday on Dec. 17, the power and skill that made him the sole eight-division world champion are still there.
Asked what he plans to do to live up to chief trainer Freddie Roach’s promise that a “new Pacquiao” will show up on fight night at the MGM Grand Arena, the Sarangani representative merely smiled.
“Secret,” he said, then refused to elaborate.
Pacquiao did train behind closed doors for seven weeks at Roach’s Wild Card Gym here. Fact is, even the Filipino reporters who usually were given access to the sparring sessions were barred from early entry Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
What the coaching staff, including assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri, openly declares is that Pacquiao will be more aggressive and will be throwing more punches against Marquez than what he unleashed against Bradley. There will also be more combinations to watch out for.
Though the plan was for Pacquiao to continue his morning run at Griffith Park, the occasional drizzle forced its cancellation. Instead, Pacquiao went to church and then took an afternoon nap after lunch.
Famished when he woke up, Pacquiao was munching on a sandwich when he granted the very brief interview at his sleeping quarters.
He then went downstairs to preside over the darts tournament he hosted for Team Pacquiao members. The congressman from Sarangani reportedly shelled out $20,000 for the one-day tournament, with the winner getting $2,500. Nobody leaves empty-handed as the first round losers get $50.
Team Pacquiao leaves for Las Vegas Monday afternoon after a final sparring session and routine exercises at Wild Card. The customized bus, emblazoned with Pacquiao’s image, will lead the convoy of vehicles with Pacquiao and wife Jinkee on their Lincoln Navigator.
The Pacquiaos are slated to return to Los Angeles on Dec. 10 and catch the late evening flight to Manila. They wanted to be present for the birthday celebration of their son, Jimwell, in Gen. Santos City on Dec. 12. Pacquiao’s birthday follows five days later.
On Dec. 19, the whole family will fly to Israel, where they intend to spend Christmas.