By EDDIE G. ALINEA
MANILA (via PhilAmPress) – World welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao started trekking the long, topsy-turvey road to history last week, the day he plunged into deep training for his mega-million 147-pound unification date with undefeated American champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The long sought after encounter, billed as the biggest this century, has finally been scheduled for May 2 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao is the current WBO welterweight champion while Mayweather, who remains undefeated in 47 fights, is the WBC title holder.
Pacquiao hold a record 57-5-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts while Mayweather Jr. has 47-0 record with 26 knockouts
A four-round with the mitts with assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez, a round each with the heavy bag, double end and speed ball marked the 36-year-old return to the ring following an almost four-month hiatus since his 12-round demolition of another American Chris Algieri.
The Sarangani Congressman rounded out his three-hour workout at his own version of the Wild Card Gym with another round with the rope and other routine physical conditioning floor exercises under the supervision of his other assistant trainers Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.
“I would have wanted to start preparations early and right at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles owing to the tough fight I am facing, but since Freddie (chief trainer Freddie Roach) is still in Macau, I’ll start building up here,” Pacquiao told this writer in Filipino in between his opening day routine.
When his team will be leaving for the United States is still tentative.
Roach, he disclosed, is currently in Macau to oversee the fight of young Chinese protégé Zhou Shimming on March 7 and will not be at the Wild Card Gym earlier than March 8.
“You know naman that I always believe in the principle of good preparation. Pag maganda ang preparasyon, magiging maganda rin ang performance, “ he philosophized.
”So, maganda ang magiging laban, at pag maganda at kapanapanabik ang laban, the fans will be happy, as we, both myself and Floyd would have wanted in the first place,” he said.
“That’s why I want to thank Floyd for finally agreeing to fight, concerned also with the welfare of the boxing fans. After all, we both live and succeed in our chosen career because of the fans,” he reasoned out.
“This on-going debate now as who will win the fight is moot and academic. Actually, this early, I can say that there’s already a winner — the boxing fans,” he remarked.
“The plain and simple men and women in the streets, who would often scrounge for money to buy tickets and see a good fight, they’re the real winner here,” he mused.
“Pero kailangan din mahaba-habang ensayo. “Me and and the team have to really prepare myself really well,” he added.
“We have to see to it that when we arrive in L.A., I’m strong enough to endure the tougher regimen prepared by Freddie,” Pacquiao said.
“I’m excited na, of course. Finally this fight will happen, and all I’m sure boxing fans are also excited with the thoughts that what they have been waiting for a long time would soon be realized,” the fighter of the decade said.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao was set to show up when lightweight Kia meets heavyweight Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Still on cloud nine following Kia’s stunning win over defending champion Purefoods exactly a week ago, Pacquiao might see action against the league-leading Tropang Texters although just about everyone in his camp are hoping he remains focused on coaching and inspiring the players than risk injury.
Last week, Pacquiao scored a point and handed off an assist in four minutes of play in the Carnival’s 95-84 victory over the Hotshots.
Pacquiao said he is not to be cowed by the height and reach advantage of undefeated Mayweather . when the two face each other on May 2 in a highly-anticipated showdown of the century in Las Vegas.
”I know that Mayweather enjoys height and reach advantage but I’m not concerned because I’m used of fighting taller fighters,” Pacquiao said in television interview.
Pacquiao said it would depend on how Mayweather uses his advantage inside the ring.
”All I have to do is to prepare for this fight,” Pacquiao, who sports 57-5-3 ring record, said.
Pacquiao said he had already asked House Speaker Feliciano Sonny Belmonte to allow him to focus first in his much-awaited fight with the American world champion.
”I hope the people will understand that I will do it not only for me and my family but for the whole nation,” Pacquiao said.
He also delegated his assistant coach Glenn Capacio to take charge the Kia Sorrento, one of the 12 teams participating in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Pacquiao is the playing-coach of the Kia Carnival.