GEN. Santos City — The journey to Australia begins on Saturday for boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as his team leaves for Down Under where hometown challenger Jeff Horn has long been waiting for him.
The 38-year-old fighting senator of the republic and his contingent — numbering about 200 and counting — departed from here aboard a 375-seater chartered AirAsia flight directly to Brisbane.
The 12-round match at the Suncorp Stadium for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown of the Pacman, will be the first for Pacquaio outside of Las Vegas since his scoring a unanimous decision against Chris Algeiri in Macau three years ago.
Pacquiao has sparred a total of 120 rounds in closing out training camp that ran for almost eight weeks and split between Manila and here.
Despite some bumps along the way, trainer Freddie Roach was very pleased by the time the camp closed Friday at the Pacman Wildcard gym.
"I like what I see," said the Hall of Fame trainer.
"And we're finally leaving for Australia," added Roach laughing as the 57-year-old trainer saw his earlier plan to leave for Brisbane at least a month before the fight fell on deaf ears.
Due to heavy rains early on Saturday, Pacquiao decided to put off his scheduled road workout.
But he's still (59-6, 38 KOs) expected to spar at least four more rounds in Australia on Monday.
"We're going four more rounds in Brisbane and that's it. He's done," said unbeaten Australian sparmate George Kambosos Jr., who stands by his prediction Pacquiao will knock off his compatriot.
"Manny will be going to knock him out … within six," said Kambosos, a native of Sydney.