- Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao had to fly twice to Los Angeles from Manila after an emergency landing.
- Even though he was jet-lagged, he still ran, did 1,000 sit-ups, practiced, and took a drug test.
- “If this is how Manny hits with jet lag, I may need to get new gloves,” coach Freddie Roach said.
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The Filipino fighter, the most decorated active fighter in world boxing today, takes on accomplished welterweight champion Spence at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 21.
Pacquiao has an immortal resume having shared the ring with the sport’s biggest names, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manual Marquez, and Oscar de la Hoya, to produce a 71-fight record with 62 wins (39 knockouts) against seven losses and two draws.
But his 72nd fight may be the toughest because, at 42, he is far removed from his athletic prime, and fighting a 31-year-old Spence, who has entered his peak years as a professional fighter.
“Errol Spence is a very difficult fight for me; perhaps the most difficult of my career,” Pacquiao said, as reported by Boxing Scene.
“But I have been an underdog my whole life. I am used to that. It is why I work so hard.
“The love and the prayers of my fellow Philippine citizens and Filipinos around the world sustain and inspire me,” he said.
“I fight for the glory of our nation and for underdogs everywhere.”
Though he believes the test will be challenging, his long-time coach Freddie Roach, who runs the world-famous Wildcard Boxing Club in Los Angeles, has been amazed by the condition the veteran boxer keeps turning up to camp in.
According to the Inquirer, Pacquiao’s flight to LA on July 4 had to make an emergency landing in Japan because of a medical emergency involving one of the passengers on board.
Rather than continue to California after the detour, the plane returned to Manila and so Pacquiao had to fly once again to LA.
He, therefore, arrived in America jetlagged, but was regardless able to begin his first day in the States with a five-mile run, 1,000 sit-ups, and a drug test. According to Boxing Scene, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association arrived at his house to collect a sample on the day Pacquiao arrived in the US.
“If this is how Manny hits with jet lag, I may need to get new gloves with thicker padding for our next sessions,” Roach said of the athlete who changed his life forever.
Watch Pacquiao’s opening training session with coach Roach right here:
-Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) July 6, 2021
“He was incredibly sharp for his first day,” Roach continued. “He hit hard with good power.
“After all these years, I’m still amazed at the great condition he’s in when he comes to training camp.
“After traveling around the world, he put in a full day here – mitts, speed bag, shadow boxing – the works. The best part was at the end when he lifted his shirt to show me his six-pack and said, ‘Freddie, I’m still here’.”
Spence Jr. is unbeaten after 27 fights with 21 knockouts and six victories by decision.
The southpaw has been a champion at 67kg since 2017, and has been on a gauntlet run of late, beating Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia in successive fights.
The summer showdown with Pacquiao will be the highest-profile fight of his life.