Sport

Nothing's changed with Manny

Nothing's changed with Manny

MANILA, Philippines — It’s like déjà vu for Manny Pacquiao as he gets ready for his showdown with WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 21. MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said yesterday Pacquiao is no different from how he was in training for Keith Thurman in 2019.

“Senator is like 42 3/4 years old, closer to 43 now but to me, he’s the same champ,” said Gibbons. “I actually can’t believe he’s doing what he’s doing. He’s always in shape, mentally and physically. He’s like Ted Williams hitting a homerun in his last at-bat when he was 42 in 1960, like Tom Brady, Phil Nicholson and Tiger Woods who’re still doing it at past 40. Senator looks even better than when he beat Thurman and that was two years ago.”

With six weeks to go before fight night, Gibbons said Pacquiao is peaking at the right time. “He’s on schedule, maybe even ahead of schedule but he’ll adjust,” said Gibbons. “He knows his body. It’s a mad scene wherever he goes, complete chaos. The fans love him. Everybody can’t wait to see him back in the ring.” Gibbons said despite the WBA’s reluctance to reinstate Pacquiao as welterweight champion in the “super” category, as far as fans are concerned, he’s at the top of the hill. “Senator’s still the champ, no matter what the WBA rules,” he said. “You win the title in the ring, you lose it in the ring, not in the boardroom.”

Marvin Somodio, who assists Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, said Pacquiao hasn’t skipped a beat. “Pagdating niya sa Wild Card last week, kinamusta ako at tinanong kung tutulong ba ako sa training camp,” he said. “Sabi ko syempre. Kung hindi dahil sa ‘yo, wala ako dito ngayon.” Somodio met Roach while Pacquiao trained for Miguel Cotto in Baguio in 2009 and three years later, migrated to the US to work at Wild Card.

“Sa first week, adjustments lang at unti-unti na bumabalik ang timing at foot movement na di naman nagbago,” said Somodio. “Focus siya sa speed, combinations at lateral movement. Si Spence, malakas at magaling na body puncher pero sa tingin ko, sa bilis ng paa, distansya at counterpunching, maiiwasan ni Senator ‘yan.”