Pacquiao’s longtime aide de camp Edward Lura told Spin.ph he has not seen the 36-year-old Filipino boxing hero this focused on a fight - and free from any distraction - in nine years, or not since his second fight with Erik Morales.
Lura said training camp for the May 2 fight against Mayweather is bound to be Pacquiao's best since his preparation for the grudge match against Morales which he won in 2006, nine months after suffering a unanimous decision loss to the wily Mexican legend.
“Grabe ang training niya (ngayon) saka grabe ang determinasyon niya,” said Lura, one of Pacquiao’s liaison officers since 2002. “Huli ko siyang nakita na nag training todong ganito sa Morales 2 pa eh. 'Yung determinasyon niya at focus niya kasi noon, ibang klase.”
It will be recalled that before the Morales fight in March 19, 2005, Pacquiao has already been saddled with a lot of distractions from show business, politics, endorsements, late night drinking spree and gambling.
Sports Radio boxing anchorman Renato Lirio, known as a walking encyclopedia of boxing to his listeners, even shared one night of talk with Pacquiao before the first Morales fight.
“Matindi ang distractions niya nuon eh. In fact, nung nagkita kami ni Manny Pacquiao, nung una siyang manalo kay Marco Antonio Barrera, nagkausap kami. Tinanong niya ko, ‘Sa tingin niyo Mr. Lirio, talunin ko kaya si Erik?’” recalled Lirio during their meeting in Malacanang in 2004.
“Sabi ko: ‘Do you accept constructive criticism?’ Sabi niya, ‘Oo.' Sabi ko: “Sh sa kundisyon mo ngayon eh, hindi ka mananalo sa kanya. Kasi that time luwak ang mata niya, laging puyat sa pagbi-bilyar, marami na siyang pinagka-abalahan noon. What happened sa first fight (versus Morales)? Talo si Manny Pacquiao. Kinapos ng hangin.”
That is no longer the case, said a longtime Team Pacquiao insider.
Lura pointed out that so focused is Pacquiao on his preparations for the Mayweather fight that he lets his staff take care of his other commitments.
“Ngayon, ayaw niyang makialam sa ibang business, basta ang gusto niya mag-training lang. 'Yun lang,” said Lura. “Ang mga nagta-trabaho ng side business (other affairs of Pacquiao), kami ang tuma-trabaho. Naka focus talaga siya, training lang talaga siya.”
Here's a podcast of interview with Lura:
Pacquiao’s business manager Michael Koncz echoed Lura, saying everything is positive in the Sarangani congressman's training camp.
“Everything is positive, he is in good mental condition, he is in good shape. We’re going to have a good fight on May 2nd,” said Koncz. “His mind is totally focused on this fight.
“I’ve never seen him as focused as this, he’s working very hard and he’s looking very great. I don’t want to give out much information (after that),” said the straight-talking Canadian.
Asked about how he expects Mayweather to fight Pacquiao, Koncz is optimistic that the loudmouthed American fighter will also be at his best shape ever.
“I think Floyd is gonna be in great shape also for this fight, he is not underestimating Manny. That’s why I think it is going to be a heck of fight but I still believe we will still prevail,” he added.
“We will be ready for May 2 And we will prevail. I have no concerns right now. None.”