By EDDIE G. ALINEA
LOS ANGELES, California (via PhilAm Press) – “He can run, but he can’t hide.”
This was how eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao most likely what will happen when he and undefeated American World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. meet head-on in the much-awaited multi-million welterweight unification encounter a little less than two months from now in Las Vegas.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt-owner, paraphrasing the famous quotation attributed to ring legend Joe Louis, was referring to the late heavyweight champion’s fighting style when ranged against defense-oriented opponents during his time.
“He can do all the dodging he wants to do during the fight, but I will be catching him in the long run until there’s no space for him to run,” Pacquiao said during a lull in training here, a week after pitching camp at the Wild Card Gym here.
Meanwhile, colleagues of Pacquiao in the House of Representatives might not be flying to Las Vegas to watch his fight with Mayweather on May 2. because of the prohibitive ticket prices, according to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Belmonte said that at press time, none of his colleagues have sought his permission to leave the country for the United States in time for the fight of the century, adding that lawmakers have always rooted for Pacquiao.
The speaker, however, did not discount the possibility that some congressmen will still fly to Las Vegas as the fight on May 2 is considered to be Pacquiao’s “last hurrah.”
Belmonted noted that Pacquiao was “very confident” of besting the unbeaten Mayweather and “he knows this is it.”
The long and tedious trips he had undergone starting last January until February that saw him travelled from Manila to here, New York, Miami, London and Washington and back, however, forced him to declare a two-day rest from his training regimen.
“Hanggang ngayon may jet lag pa ako,” he exclaimed. Imagine me and Jinkee (his wife, Sarangani Vice Governor Jinkee) going into a five-city hopping, nakakapagod talaga. Pagdating sa Pilipinas, simula na ng ensayo. Then travel again going here.
“After this morning’s roadwork (at the Pan Pacific Park), I decided to rest muna habang maaga pa at almost two months pa before the fight,” he explained.
Conditioning coach Justin Fortune agreed, saying his student badly needs a respite following the rigor of too much travelling by plane.
“No problem, really,” Fortune said. “It’s good this happens now and not later in the camp. No need to be in a hurry, anyway. We still have a enough time.”
The rest his camp wished may not come though as fans, who have been barred from going to the Wild Card training camp were suddenly given entry to his house from early Saturday afternoon.
“It’s Saturday, anyway and he’s supposed to be resting so, we thought relaxing the curfew rule on visitors,” one member of the Tam Pacquiao household reasoned out.
Besides entertaining his guests, Pacquiao, likewise obliged to playing darts with member os his team, which, could last until the wee hour of Sunday.
Going back to the game plan he will be implementing, Pacquiao told this writer in an interview at his Mansion that his strategy will be finalized when he meets with chief trainer Freddie Roach Monday. Roach, who turned 55 last Wednesday, was set to fly in Sunday from Macau.
He said he and assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and Roger “Haplas” Fernandez have already an idea of the offensive pattern to counter the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council 147-titlist’s defensive style of fighting.
“There really is no secret in what I’ll be doing. Marami nang gumamit noon and the most successful proponent of that is Joe the great Louis himself,” the fighting Sarangani Congressman said.
“Even me had also exploited the style several times in the past,” he recalled. “What I need, most importantly, is stamina. Stamina to also run the length of the squared ring chasing him and I believe I have that.”
“Sayang lang ang experience ko paglalaro ng basketball araw-araw kung hindi ko magagamit. Maliit lang naman ang sukat ng ring compared to a basketball court na nilalaro ko apat , limang oras, so kayang-kaya natin yun,” he said.
Pacquiao admitted he has to do catch-up job in fighting the 47-0 no-loss record-holder. Known as a defense specialist, Mayweather, he said, will be using his mastery of the art in their May 2 showdown at the MGM Grand Arena.
“Justin was right. Kelangan ko magpahinga muna and I can do that today and tomorrow,” he said. “By Monday, recovered na ako at tuloy na naman, hopefully ang ensayo, seryosong ensayo na ito.” (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAm Press)