With less than 10 days to go until Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s fight with Keith “One Time” Thurman, Pacquiao assured that he was feeling good and finishing training camp strong.
“They’re very excited. It’s the biggest challenge they’ve had in a long time,” said Pacquiao’s longtime publicist, Fred Sternberg, on Thursday, July 11.
Having spent nearly four weeks training in the Philippines, Pacquiao recently came back down to Los Angeles to do some final training at Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Club with his coach Freddie Roach. He held a media day training on Wednesday.
Sternberg added that Pacquiao’s current training camp may be “their best camp in many, many years.”
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) are set to fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 20, and the fight has been hyped up as being a fight between a boxing legend, and a possible legend in the making.
Aside from holding the title of boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Pacquiao has garnered an incredible boxing career by fighting and defeating some seven current or future Hall of Famers like Marco Antonio Barrera, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, and Shane Mosley.
Pacquiao, 40, has also been named a three-time Fighter of the Year and remains the Boxing Writers Associations of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade. On the side, he also serves as a senator in the Philippines.
Thurman, on the other hand, is currently the longest reigning welterweight world champion and has been described as one of the welterweight division’s most dangerous boxers.
The 30-year-old has also won all of his professional fights, with the exception of a non-recorded win from a No Contest with Mexico’s Francisco Garcia back in 2009.
With a 10-year age difference between the two, boxing fans have been curious as to what has changed in Pacquiao’s performance over the years.
“That’s what I’m trying to prove this time because we know there are people doubting my capability at the age of 40,” said Pacquiao on Thursday.
He added, “But at the age of 40, I’m not thinking about my age. I’m thinking about making my fans happy.”
Pacquiao has before told the Asian Journal that training has, for the most part, remained the same with a few adjustments in recovery. On Thursday, he assured that he had no concerns over his performance.
“My body’s reaction is okay. My mind and everything is fine, and I’m a big believer of God. This is a blessing,” said Pacquiao.
Asked what keeps him motivated and always ready, Pacquiao said it’s been easy given that he loves exercising.
“I really love exercise. I’m addicted to exercise and even if I do not have a scheduled time, I almost everyday exercise like playing basketball four to five hours almost every day,” said Pacquiao, adding that he usually doesn’t hit the boxing gym until he has a scheduled fight.
“So when the time comes in and I have a scheduled fight, I’m so motivated to work hard, play hard, and focus for the rest of the fight,” said Pacquiao.
In the weeks leading up to the fight, Thurman has vowed to be the fighter to send Pacquiao into retirement. He recently told ESPN that he predicts needing less than six rounds to knock out Pacquiao.
But Pacquiao — who has heard his opponents make similar predictions many times before — has remained unfazed by the comments.
“I’m not angry with him. I’m just motivated,” said Pacquiao, adding that Thurman’s words have at times gotten to his mother Dionesia Dapidran-Pacquiao. But for him, it’s just feed for his motivation.
“It gives me more motivation to focus on the training and how hard I push in training,” said Pacquiao. “This will be a very interesting fight.”
Thurman’s most recent win came earlier this year by majority decision, even after coming from a 22-month hiatus resulting from a couple elbow and hand injuries. Now, he’s expected to come to the ring with even more power and preparation.
To Pacquiao, that just means an even better fight.
“I understand that it’s hard to start again, but this time around, he’ll work hard and will be prepared for this fight,” said Pacquiao. “I’m expecting him to work hard and prepare.”
As for his own preparation, Pacquiao is also using experience and strategy to finish strong.
“My style is still the same, but I’m more experienced. But [I’ve gotten] strong in timing,” said Pacquiao.
Roach chimed in and said that Pacquiao’s motivation to train has been very serious and that they’ve had to make sure he didn’t overtrain.
“He’s unbelievable. He wants to work out every day, but we have to hold back a little bit,” said Roach. “We’re on a tight schedule right now and we’ll give him a couple extra days off and try not to have him overtrain because he does have a tendency to do that, but we’re ready to go.”
“I already accomplished what I’ve wanted to accomplish in boxing, and I’m continuing my career because boxing is my passion,” said Pacquiao. “God gave me blessings, and I’m thankful for the good health, speed, and power.”
The Pacquiao-Thurman fight will take place on Saturday, July 20 (Fox PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.