By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Eight division world champion and Philippines Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) is days away from his next fight where he will take on WBO welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) this Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, live on Pay Per View. We caught up with Pacquiao to ask questions about his upcoming fight with Vargas.
“It’s good to be fighting and it’s very important for me to win convincingly to prove I still belong here,” Manny Pacquiao told Fightnews.com. “It’s a big motivation for me and I plan on doing my best. My plan for this fight is to make the fans happy,” Pacquiao added.
Pacquiao arrived 2 weeks ago in Los Angeles as he resumed camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California with his longtime Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
“I started training in the Philippines. Starting at 7 AM, we run. After that I have a committee meeting at 9am and at 3pm go to the gym,” Pacquiao said. “When we arrived to LA there was jetlag a few days but it’s good. I feel good with everything in training,” Pacquiao added.
“He does have jetlag but its something we have dealt with before, but his work ethic, he is ready. His ethic is still the best I have seen. I am amazed after fifteen years. Pacquiao still has great speed and power,” Freddie Roach told Fightnews.com “While in the gym he gets to work, our average is 40 rounds a day, that was his goal,” Roach added.
Pacquiao is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley in their rubber match as Pacquiao floored Bradley numerous times in route to a clear victory in what was supposed to be the Filipino icon’s last fight.
“It was a good win for me. I respect Bradley but I knew I was going to win again, I had already beat him before, Pacquiao said.
Since the Bradley fight, Pacquiao scored another big victory as he was elected Senator in the Philippines. The Senator spoke briefly to us about his political contributions to his country.
“This is the first time in history that a boxer is a senator. I am still boxing and enjoy and am inspired with my new work as senator,” Pacquiao said. “Doing this, boxing and my job, it gives me no time for other activities,” Pacquiao added.
“Manny is the opposite of politicians, he loves to give back to the community,” Bob Arum told Fightnews.com.
What motivated Pacquiao to return to the ring?
“I keep fighting because there is value in bringing honor to my country,” Pacquiao said. “Politics is different, I enjoy it because I serve honestly and have no hidden agendas. I have spent more than one-hundred million dollars on the people of the Philippines.”
“What keeps Manny fighting is the money because you can’t build homes for people. Most of Pacquiao’s earnings go to charity. It takes someone like Manny to build homes and schools,” Bob Arum said. “Because of his talent he likes to make money,” Arum added.
The semi-retirement of Pacquiao’s boxing career continues as he is back in the ring to take on the young and hungry Jessie Vargas. The Las Vegas fighter scored an impressive knockout over previously undefeated 2008 US Olympian Sadam Ali in his last fight.
“He is a lot taller than me. I don’t want to underestimate him. He is a champion. Many people think it will be an easy fight,” Pacquiao said. “I will be ready for him and expect to be victorious,” Pacquiao added.
“He is a two-time world champion and we have to respect that. He is aggressive, and he likes to come forward. I hope he attacks us,” Freddie Roach said. “I think Manny will knock this guy out,” Roach added.
Pacquiao vs. Vargas will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for Vargas’s WBO welterweight title. The fight between the champion and the legend will take place just days before the nation’s biggest date, the 2016 Presidential Election.
“I don’t want to comment on the election but we know who is leading. I respect the American people and their decision to elect a good leader,” Pacquiao said. “I will come out victorious,” Pacquiao added.
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