MANNY PACQUIAO has been juggling his training with his new role as a Senator in the Philippines.
“It took discipline to manage my time effectively,” Pacquiao said, “to balance my training camp and my Senatorial duties. I feel good. Every day I was able to get in all my training. I ran every morning and did my strength and conditioning with Justin Fortune. I worked with Freddie every evening at the gym after work. There were some days where I would have to come in later if my work in the Senate demanded I stay longer. Between the two “jobs,” I was averaging 14-hour workdays. Luckily the gym was very close to the Senate so I didn’t have to deal with traffic. I had no real free time to be with friends.”
Pacquiao is in America for the last fortnight before his WBO welterweight title fight with Jessie Vargas. “I am now well-rested. I arrived in U.S. on Saturday evening and today I feel I have recovered from my jetlag. I sparred six rounds yesterday [Tuesday with Ray Beltran]. I will spar Thursday, Saturday and Monday before driving to Las Vegas,” he said. “We have three different plans for Jessie Vargas. My first concern is for the fans; that the people who are going to watch the fight will be happy and satisfied. I want this to be a fight for fans to remember
“I am fighting for history. I was the first sitting congressman to win a world title. For this one, it is not enough to be the first sitting senator to fight for a world title, I want to be the first senator to become world champion. For me, that would be quite an accomplishment.”
He insists he remains ambitious. “I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. 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,” he continued. “I do not underestimate Jessie Vargas. He is a good strong champion. You cannot fight at this level and be successful by underestimating your opponent. Every opponent gets my full attention and respect. I respect Jessie and that is why I trained hard. This is the most important fight because it will determine the direction of my boxing career. I need to win convincingly.
“Winning world titles in eight divisions is not that easy. I am so blessed to be a part of boxing history by winning them. That is not me boasting. I am just happy to be a part of the history of boxing.”