SENATOR, eight division world champion and “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao had a final workout with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles before driving with the members of his entourage to Las Vegas where he will go after a third World Boxing Organization welterweight title against two-division champion Jessie Vargas on Sunday, Manila Time.
Boxing Scene reports that Pacquiao and Vargas “will go mano a mano and toe-to-toe in a high-stakes welterweight showdown. While Pacquiao will be looking to become a three-time WBO welterweight champion as well as the first senator to win a world title, Vargas will be resolute in enforcing a term limit on the future Hall of Famer’s boxing career.”
Manny looked sharp in his final workout with Freddie Roach. Long-time adviser and confidant Michael Koncz told the Manila Standard Manny was “100 percent ready” and is ripped and ready to take on Vargas who is 10 years younger with Pacquiao claiming age “is only a number.”
His intention is to put on a compelling performance and become the first Senator to win a world boxing title which would hopefully lead to a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. who scored a unanimous decision when they first met in May 2015.
Reports from Las Vegas indicate that Mayweather, who has been back in his gym to stay in shape, is likely to follow the action with interest and hopefully make a decision on whether to give Manny a rematch so he could beat the 49-0 record of heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.
Although there are those in the Pacquiao camp who believe Vargas will run once he feels the power of Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune point out that Vargas “is a fighter and he will stand and fight and won’t run.”
However, former two division world champion Gerry Peñalosa, who has intently watched Pacquiao train, believes the Filipino southpaw is in devastating form and Vargas’ dream of knocking out Pacquiao will turn into a nightmare as he himself will be knocked out by Manny.
Meanwhile, interest in the fight and the showdown between WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire and unbeaten challenger Jessie Magdaleno has been building up and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes the pay-per-view numbers will be good.
Boxing writer Gilbert Manzano of the Las Vegas Review Journal quotes Pacquiao who said “I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.”
Pacquiao said, “I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.”
Roach said he didn’t notice any issues of fatigue during the eight-week training camp and that “Manny Pacquiao is still the most dedicated fighter I have ever seen. We have never ended a workout early. He is busier than usual, but he always likes a full plate and he has a full plate right now.”
Pacquiao, like he promised, hasn’t missed a day at the Senate. Sometimes he would be at the office for 14 hours and then get a sparring session in with Roach to end the day. Pacquiao would end his nights by playing a game of chess and wake up at 5 a.m. for a long run before heading back to the Senate.