General Santos City--Challenger Manny Pacquiao sparred for five rounds Saturday, while World Boxing Association champion Lucas Matthysse doubled up the effort as the main combatants to “Fight of Champions” ground it out with eight more days before their monumental clash in Malaysia.
Pacquiao, fighting for the first time after losing a controversial bout with Australian bruiser Jeff Horn last year, looked calm and happy with the way his preparations have transpired thus far.
The 39-year-old legend of boxing feels rejuvenated. He hopes to win an unprecedented 11th world title in his 23rd year of boxing come July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Standing in his way is “The Machine” Matthysse, who is leaving no stone unturned in his own bid of retiring Pacquiao at all cost, even hinting of giving up his own life in defending the crown he won early this year.
Pacquiao sparred for two rounds with compatriot Jheritz Chavez and another three with unbeaten Australian lightweight George Kambosos Jr., as training sessions started to taper down.
In stark contrast, Matthysse’s corner is showing a different route of training as they closed out sparring sessions also on Saturday.
Trainer Joel Diaz was satisfied with his ward’s condition and speed and was convinced his fighter is ready to fight at any moment now.
Matthysse and his team planed in two nights ago from Los Angeles, California in hopes of acclimatizing early in his bid to retain his welterweight belt against the eight-weight division boxing champion Pacquiao.
But Pacquiao’s think-tank remains unfazed. Chief trainer Buboy Fernandez thinks his boyhood friend has done enough in training to dethrone Matthysse.
“Siya mismo nagsabi na happy siya sa training camp ngayon. Lalung-lalo na sa buong team, puro tayo Filipino. Si coach Justin (Fortune) naman, iyong cooperation niya bilang conditioning coach. Kumbaga, naibalik iyong sigla sa buong team kasi lahat kami nagtutulungan,” said Fernandez.
Pacquiao is gunning for his 60th victory. He has lost seven time and drew twice (38 KOs) in his storied career. Retiring is far from Pacquiao’s mind as he showed moves which he has employed against a bevy of opponents in the past, when he was a lanky flyweight moving up to the ranks of bantamweights and even as high as a super welterweight.