“I expect him to come out guns blazing”
I’m preparing for anything. If he comes out and tries to blitz us, we’re prepared for that. If he comes out and wants to fight a counter fight, we’re prepared for that. Manny has a couple of different styles he can bring, we understand that. That’s any fight. You never know how a guy’s going to come out. I’m expecting him to come out guns blazing.
This is boxing. The more you throw, the more you’re open. If you don’t let a guy throw combinations, he’s not going to throw combinations. I’ve been in tons of fights with guys who throw combinations at other guys and don’t throw combinations with me. If I stand there and let him throw, sure, he’ll throw blistering combinations all night long. I’m not going to be that guy.
I’ve been fighting in 16 ½ foot rings for most of my career. Even when I fought Ruslan [Provodnikov] I think it was a 17 foot ring, which is a tremendously small ring. Being trapped in a ring with a guy like Ruslan Provodnikov and I was able to keep him from cutting off the ring and keep angles on him. Cutting off the ring is not an easy thing to do with me. We have a proper sized ring, a championship sized ring. Manny’s got great footwork and is a great combination puncher but I can’t really remember the last time I saw him really cut down the ring on someone. He’s much more a counter fighter in recent years.
Ruslan’s not a single punch guy. In the fights where he looked his best, [Mike] Alvarado, Tim Bradley, he was ripping combinations, both hands, upstairs, downstairs, all over the place. He didn’t do that with me. I blame me. I didn’t allow him to do that. Where was the body work? Well, he hit my elbows enough, he didn’t want to throw body punches anymore. There are aspects of boxing people don’t realise. I guess that it’s not that easy just to throw combinations at me.
“I’ve got to fight a perfect fight”
It’s not about proving [anything] for me. I love what I’m doing and I’m at the highest level. What’s better than that? But at the same time I am a competitor and I want to win. All the other stuff, it’s part of it but I’m here to win. I’m not here just to be here.
I’ve got to go out there and fight a perfect fight this time.
I’m going to trade when I want to trade. I’m going to fight when I want to fight. In the fights where I’m at my best I’m dictating when the fight happens, where it happens. So that’s going to be this fight, like any other fight. I’m going to fight my fight.
Most people haven’t seen any of my fights besides my last fight. They base my entire style off of the fight against Ruslan, which is ridiculous because I fought 11 ½ rounds with one eye. That’s not my full style. ‘He’s moving a lot, he’s just jabbing, he wasn’t throwing the right hand alot.’ I wasn’t throwing the right hand because it was pinned against my damaged right eye that couldn’t get hit any more. So everyone is basing my style off of a single fight and that’s just not the case.
Manny’s going to do what he does. I don’t think he’s going to change anything at this point in his career. I know he’s in shape, I know they trained hard, I know they took this fight seriously (whether they say they have or they haven’t). We’ve been preparing for the best possible Manny Pacquiao the entire time.
This is high level boxing… This is a fight, it’s a real fight. He understands that and I know he’s understood that since the beginning, which is why I’m sure he’s well prepared.
The beginning of a fight is the wild, wild West. It’s a fight. Until the control is established… Pacquiao is susceptible to specific punches and we’ve practised those moves and those punches. We’ve had success with them. We’ve had good sparring partners.
It’s not rock ‘em-sock ‘em robots. This is a boxing match. I’ve got to go out there and be a master boxer. Control the space, control the pace and fight my fight and go out there and be as close to a master boxer as possible.
“We all start somewhere”
I throw a lot of punches, I land a lot of punches. I mix it up, I’m a body puncher. I’m not a boring fighter. My fights are fun to watch.
Manny’s not very busy when fights get really close, especially when it’s not on his terms. I spent a lot of my early career as an inside fighter and my trainers have been getting me to work more from the outside to establish my jab. It was a big shift from my early career. My first five fights I had three knockouts and dropped the other two guys four times each and then we had a shift where we found boxing to be a better style and an easier one to get wins.
Defence is kind of a lost art. That’s something that hasn’t been brought up a whole lot in this fight. Again people only think about my last fight. I’m known for having this great heart and coming back from getting dropped. But for most fights I come out completely unscathed because my boxing and my defence are good. I think that’s going to be vital in this fight as well.
He has a tremendous amount of experience, a lot more than I do. He’s been here on these world stages many, many times. This is my first time. But it was his first time once before too. We all start somewhere.
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