MANNY Pacquiao has been beating the odds since he was a teenager in the Philippines stuffing his pockets with metal at weigh-ins so he wouldn’t look like a 98-pound weakling.
Nearly a quarter century later, Pacquiao is still up for a challenge.
He fights Saturday night against Adrien Broner in a true crossroads bout that will determine a lot about his future in the ring. Chasing a second fight with Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao will be tested by a younger and talented fighter who has a lot to prove himself.
He’s 40 now, an age where fighters either have long stopped lacing up the gloves or are very careful in picking opponents. Pacquiao is not only still fighting, but willing to take on a 29-year-old who thinks of himself as a young Mayweather.
And he’s not terribly concerned about the possibility he might lose.
“I still have that killer instinct and the fire in my eyes is still there,” Pacquiao said. “That aggressiveness, the interest in this career is still there 100 percent. The speed and the power are still there.”
That showed in a gym session this week in Hollywood, where Pacquiao looked sharp and fast while hitting the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach. The two have reunited for the fight, Pacquiao’s first in the U.S. in more than two years.
But while Pacquiao is favored, there’s always a chance in boxing that age often catches up to a fighter in the wrong place — the ring.
And that adds some intrigue to seeing a fighter who has been so much of a part of the fabric of boxing for the last 15 years.
“He’s unbelievable,” Roach said. “His work ethic is great, he has fast hands and he still hits hard. I think he actually wants to knock this opponent out.”
That may be asking a lot since Pacquiao went nearly a decade without knocking anyone out before stopping Lucas Martin Matthysse in a fight in Malaysia last July. But if Pacquiao needed any more motivation he got it after Broner mocked the Parkinson’s that Roach has.
“Manny’s a great guy to have on your side,” Roach said.
Indeed, Broner has done his part to sell the fight by acting boorish and flashing money around like his mentor, Mayweather. At this week’s final news conference, Broner went into a profane rant about Showtime announcer Al Bernstein, though his comments about Pacquiao were more respectful. (AP)