Manny Pacquiao '85 percent ready' as Matthysse fight draws near

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 26, 2018 04:39 PM
Pacquiao '85 percent ready' as Matthysse fight draws near
(Photo courtesy of Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY--With just less than three weeks left before his defining fight with WBA  champion Lucas Matthysse, Manny Pacquiao's handlers were pleased with the work ethic shown by the 39-year-old legend.

Just moments after Pacquiao displayed his old and fiery form on Tuesday, staggering sparring partner Gherich Chavez with a single solid straight to the jaw, chief trainer Buboy Fernandez and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune gave high marks for their champion.

Pacquiao had to pause for ten seconds to give Chavez a respite, as old timers recalled memories of the Filipino's single knockout punch that took the lights out of Emmanuel Lucero in 2003 in Los Angeles.

"I would say he is 85 already percent ready and we don't want him to peak too soon," said Fernandez, who is leaving no stone unturned in their preparation for "Fight of Champions," the biggest boxing event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia slated on July 15 at the Axiata Arena.

Fortune concurred with Fernandez. "He is right there where we want him to be right now," said the Australian coach who is seeing a resurgent spirit of the only boxer in history who has won eight world titles in eight different divisions.

Pacquiao challenged himself Monday morning, testing himself to the limit by climbing the steepest route in Maasim, Sarangani province. "It's a sign that Manny is trying to ask himself questions whether he still has it or not. That talks a lot about his warrior spirit," said Fortune.

Meanwhile, Matthysse is also doing all he can to match whatever firepower Pacquiao will be bringing to battle. Under the tutelage of Joel Diaz in Indio, California, Matthysse promised to keep his belt at all costs.

Matthysse's promoter Oscar Dela Hoya also dispelled rumors that the fight might be cancelled due to financial problems as alleged by Pacquiao's long-time and former promoter Bob Arum of rival Top Rank Promotions.

"I feel very, very confident the fight is going to happen, let's put it that way," said Dela Hoya in an interview with boxing scribe Steve Kim.

Matthysse is planning to arrive in Kuala Lumpur ahead of everyone to acclimatize for 10 days prior to the match.

"I might be there for about ten days, I want to go out there and help Manny promote and do my rounds in Malaysia. I have my plane tickets already. So we're set to go, we have a fight," De La Hoya insisted. - RELEASE

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