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Pacquiao sets harder training, vows he won't allow Horn to defeat him

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(Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao)


MAKATI CITY (PhilAmPress) – Philippine Senator and World Boxing Organization (WBO) reigning welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is back in Manila from Melbourne where he drummed up his July 2 fight againt Australia’s Jeff Horn.


Immediately, Pacquiao announced his readiness to prepare for his coming titular date with Horn at Brisbane’s 55,000-seat Suncorp Arena and vowed to train harder than before, admitting his Australian foe should not be taken for granted.


“Everything went well (in the Australian trip). Finally Horn and I met for the first time and it’s now time to prepare for the fight, “ Pacquiao declared after landing at the airport with his party, including wife Jinkee.


“Medyo magiging hard and rigid ang training ngayon. Malaki and kalaban at kung totoo ang balitang natanggap natin from members of the Filipino community down Under and the Australians themselves, Horn should not be taken for granted,” Pacquiao stressed.


“May kalakihan nga, pero  bahagya lang at walang masyadong magiging advantage,” Pacman’s closed in security Choy  Garcia,  along with assistant trainer Roger “Haplas” Fernandez agreed having been part of the team that went to Australia.


“Pero kailangan ding paghandaang mabuti,” Garcia added.   


The fighting senator admitted that he is already in the twilight of his career. “Tanggap ko yun. Kaya nga hindi ako dapat matalo sa labang ito,” he stressed. “Paghaahandaan ko ang labang ito nang higit sa paghahandang  ginawa ko sa mga nakaraang laban ko,” Pacquiao said.


“I only have a few more fights left in my career at gaya nang dati, wala kong maipangangako kundi ang gagawin ko ang lahat para pasayahin ang fans. Kaya hindi ako papayag na matalo ako dito sa labang ito at sa mga darating pa,” he said.


Training will definitely start next week, the reigning 147-pound kingpin assured adding he cannot ascertain yet when he will plunge into action.


Since Senate session resumed on Tuesday (May 2), gym work may commence midweek, according to the eight division titlist.


“I am still waiting the report on the extent of damage brought about by the earthquake that hit GenSan (General Santos City). Kararating lang kasi namin hatinggabi kagabi, kaya di pa ako nakatatanggap ng report, “ the 38-year-old lawmaker said.


“Kung malaki ang naging pinsala at kailangan kong pumunta doon bago magsimula ang ensayo, lilipad tayo,” he said. “Kung minimal lamang naman, siguro the weekend after preparation ako bibisita,” he asserted.


 Haplas said his Boss and members  of the training team, including brother Buboy, Nono Neri and himself will meet to decide when Pacquiao’s build up program will commence.


“Monday pa ang dating ni Buboy from Bicol kaya noon pa lamang mapag-dedesisyunan ang araw kung kailan kami mag-start.” he said. “Meanwhile, resume na rin ang roadwork bukas (Sunday). “One week kasing di nakatakbo si Boss habang nasa Australia.”     


Like Garcia, Haplas dimissed Horn’s  perceived edge in height. “Matangkad lang, pero hindi naman hefty gaya ng report. Para lang si Vargas,” he said referring to the Mexican-American  Jessie Vagas, at whose expense Pacquiao took the title last November.


 On February 11, 1990, Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog,  knocked out heavily favoured Mike Tyson in the 10th round of their world heavyweight fight in Tokyo to crown himself the new champion.


On February 11, 1990, Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog,  knocked out heavily favoured Mike Tyson in the 10th round of their world heavyweight fight in Tokyo to crown himself the new champion.   


Twenty six years eerlier in 1964, Cassius Clay, (later christened Muhammad Ali), an 8-1 underdog,  knocked out  Sonny Liston in a monumental upset noted more for its historical significance than anything else.  


Those were only two of shocking reversals, not only in the sport of sweet science but in other sports a well, that left fans thrilled and excited and will  inspire and motivate the unheralded upstarts to hope to duplicate.


Australian no. 2 contender Jeff Horn is no exception. The former schoolteacher, in fact, has been very vocal since his title encounter with titlist Manny Pacquiao  was announced, to exploit the historical facts to the hilt and beat the Filipino World Boxing Organization welterweight  titleholder in  their July 2 date and emerge the new 147-pound champ.


To accomplish his goal, the 16-0-1 win-loss-draw record holder with 11 KOs knows too well that he needs more than luck because his 22-year veteran opponent also owns a piece of  history in his 59-6-2 with 38  stoppage impressive resume making Pacquiao an overwhelming favourite. 


Overcoming an underdog tag is not new to Paquiao. On the way to becoming the only boxer to win 11 world titles in eight weight divisions, the two-time Philippine Congressman now Senator started his rise to international prominence by crowning himself the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight  titlist by stopping Lehlo Ledwaba in the sixth round while fighting as a substitute and, therefore, an underdog.  That was in 2001.


The 2000 ‘Fighter of the Decade,’ was, likewise, at the losing end of the odds when he overwhelmed Marco Antonio Barrera for the Ring Magazine featherweight plum, Juan Manuel Marquez for the World Boxing Council super-featherweight crown and David Diaz for the WBC lightweight diadem.


Ditto when he fought his first 147-pound bout against Olympian and legendary Mexican-American Oscar DeLa Hoya who was heavily favoured  when they met on December 8, 2008 only to quit and retire unable to answer the bell signalling the start of the 8th of the 12-round classic.


Having been a victim himself of upset losses, Pacquiao, also popularly known as “Pacman,” the “Pacific Storm” and “Mexicutioner,” among others, said he’s aware of those chances happening in his coming fight.


“Na-realize ko na ‘yan noon pang pumayag ako na labanan si Jeff Horn,” Pacquiao said. “Oo nga’t marami akong tinalo bilang underdog, may mga laban din naman ako na natalo as a favourite.”


The three-time WBO welterweight belt owner was referring to his first defeat in a young career in 1998, a KO at that, dealt him by Rustico Torrecampo and, three years later, by Thai Medgoen Lukchaopormasak that cost him the WBC flyweight title he won earlier from another, Thai Chatsai Sasakul.


“Those twin losses hurt, especially yung kay Medgoen kasi world champion na ako. But those defeats, at the same time, taught me lessons,” he reminisced. “After that, pinangako ko na di na ako dapat matalo, especially sa isang baguhan.”    


The Filipino ring great suffered three more setbacks later in his career – to Erik Morales in 2005, Tim Bradley and Marquez, both in 2012. He more than avenged his loss to Morales by knocking him out twice. Same with Bradley, who he outpointed two times later. That loss to Marquez, via KO,  merely brought their four-fight record to 2-1-1 win-loss-draw in his favour. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress)

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