Pacquiao excited and ready to rumbleBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HOLLYWOOD—Manny Pacquiao gave a privileged few a preview of what to expect in his Dec. 8 (Dec. 9 in Manila) showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez.
He was on attack mode in four rounds of sparring, hitting chief trainer Freddie Roach with some hurting punches during their mitts session that officially closed his training camp Monday at Wild Card Gym here.
Roach said it was the hardest punches he’d ever received from Pacquiao, who admitted he put on a show for his fans and friends before leaving for Las Vegas late Monday afternoon.
“I was trying to give a sample (of what I’d do against Marquez),” said a grinning Pacquiao. “I intend to attack him, pressure him. I’m excited and ready to fight. Ready to Rumble.”
While he’s bent on silencing Marquez via a stoppage, Pacquiao said he’s also prepared to go the distance (12 rounds).
“It’s all in God’s hands,” said Pacquiao. I’m just thankful that I feel strong and God gives me the strength through the years.”
Pacquiao reminisced his early lean years in boxing, with brothers and former world champions Gerry and Dodie Boy Peñalosa listening, as he did abdominal exercises.
“It’s been 15 years and I never thought that I would reach this far,” said Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and honored as Fighter of the Decade, in Filipino.
Asked what made this training camp different, Pacquiao said he took on a more direct role in strategizing the fight against Marquez.
“I’m the one who’s suggesting (to Roach),” said Pacquiao, adding that there were no distractions, only more inspirations this time.
Present at the mitts session was 7-foot-1 Ronnie Aguilar, who got waived by the Los Angeles Lakers and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The 31-year-old Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who won a seat in Hawaii’s state legislature at age 21, was endorsed by Pacquiao, himself a congressman from Sarangani.