GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The effects of ageing spares no one. Not even a boxing legend and an eight-time world division champion.
Manny Pacquiao said age is indeed, fast catching up on him as he admitted his body now needs some time to fully recover from a hard training as what he’s been regularly doing in training for his title fight against Jeff Horn of Australia next week.
Pacquiao, 38, has been fighting for more than two decades now since first bursting into the boxing scene in 1995, and had been into a lot of wars in the ring as gleaned from his 59-6-2 with 38 KOs.
“I tried to push myself pero iba yung nararamdaman ko nung 20-plus ka lang, nung 25-years-old, when you work hard in training, overnight lang fully recovered ka na,” said the Filipino ring great on Friday when he trained in his home city for the last time prior to leaving for Brisbane, Australia, where he’ll defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Horn on July 2.
“Pero ganito pala pag may edad ka na, when you work hard it would take time to recover your strength,” he added. “So more rest, yes.”
But the admission should not be a concern as Pacquiao said his team made up of trainer Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning coach Justine Fortune had everything covered in the eighth-week training camp that began at the Elorde gym at the Five E-Com Bldg at the Mall of Asia Complex and ended at the Pacman Wild Card gym here.
“Fight mode na tayo, diretso na yun,” said the only boxer to win eight world titles in as many divisions. “Naka-focus na tayo.”
Pacquiao sparred for six rounds, including three with George Kambosos Jr., also an Australian, who stressed the Filipino senator is ready to go.
“Manny is in 100 percent condition now. He’s winding down and everything is 100 percent,” he said following the sparring.
Kambosos, 24, even went on record and said Pacquiao is going to knock his fellow Aussie out in the sixth round.
But the Pacman won’t be easily carried away.
He has the highest respect for Horn, a former Olympian who is still unbeaten in 17 fights (11 by KOs), and is regarded a hero in Brisbane.
“Tingnan natin (knockout),” said Pacquiao. “Walang talo 'yung kalaban kaya hindi natin puwedeng i-underestimate.
“Kaya yung ginawa natin make sure na 100 percent condition para sa fight,” he added of the 12-round bout expected to draw a record crowd of 50,000 at the Suncorp Stadium.
Pacquiao and his entourage will leave for Australia on Saturday morning on board a chartered Air Asia plane for the seven-hour flight.