HE may be the bigger draw between the two, but Manny Pacquiao reminded everyone that he’s still the one challenging for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title belt of reigning champion Jessie Vargas.
The 37-year-old Filipino ring legend stressed that as the current title holder, anything should not be taken away from Vargas, notwithstanding his status as the consensus underdog.
“He is the champion, and I’m the challenger,” said Pacquiao in a brief interview by Top Rank Promotions following his arrival in Los Angeles on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) for the press conference luncheon of his November 5 fight against Vargas at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The press conference is slated at the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Pacquiao was accompanied in the short US trip by a rather small entourage led by wife Jinkee.
This marked the first time the eight-time world division champion set foot on US soil since he fought and beat Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision last April in what he said back then was his farewell fight, declaring he planned to focus on his work as a senator.
Five months after though, here he is making a comeback in the ring after a brief retirement and hoping to win another world title two months from now.
“I’m hungry to get that belt,” said the Pacman (58-6-2, 38 KOs), adding he’s inspired by his family and the Filipino people to get on top of the boxing world again.
The fighting Senator already began light training in the country prior to leaving for Los Angeles. Training camp will primarily be held in a boxing gym just near the Senate, with chief trainer Freddie Roach expected to arrive here later this month.
Pacquiao said he’ll be going to the US at least two weeks before his bout with the 24-year-old Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs), during which he said the Senate will be in recess.