Manny Pacquiao’s coming fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. is changing the demeanor of the Filipino icon. His attitude has changed. His outlook is more serious and he appears to be a man on a mission.
The guy who noticed the changes is the same person who should know: Freddie Roach, who has been Pacquiao’s trainer for more than a decade and the man who has seen the highs and lows of his fighter.
“He’s determined to win convincingly and I can see and feel that he wants to do just that,” said Roach, who began training Pacquiao in mid-2001.
Pacquiao himself admitted that his fight against Mayweather is a different one. This one is for history and legacy and he said in a recent interview in Los Angeles that it’s been years since he has had a real fight in his hands.
“Finally, they’ve given me one tough and big fight,” said Pacquiao, who is the underdog against Mayweather in their May 2 welterweight showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Although Pacquiao acknowledges that he also went through hard times against Juan Manuel Marquez and Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao swears that facing Mayweather has compelled him to see things differently.
For instance, he cited how he eagerly looked forward to hit the ground running.
“I could’ve gone here in the second week of March since coach Freddie (Roach) was still in Macau but I chose to arrive early because I want to make an impression,” said Pacquiao, who left Manila on Feb. 28 and showed up at the Wild Card Boxing Club two days later.
It was not until March 9 that Roach got back to the gym. While waiting for his Hall of Fame trainer to return, Pacquiao begun his training in earnest under the supervision of conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
Despite his record, Pacquiao is still the underdog against Mayweather. Not that it is unsual, but the last time the odds favored his opponents was against Oscar De La Hoya in Dec. 2008.
That fight was one-sided, in Pacquiao’s favor. De la Hoya got beaten so badly, boxing’s Golden Boy retired after the fight.
Since then, Pacquiao was the unanimous favorite in his next 11 fights, winning nine matches and losing two times.
Pacquiao’s victories were all crystal-clear while his two defeats came via a controversial decision to Tim Bradley (which he later avenged) and a one-punch sixth-round knockout to Marquez when he was starting to take charge.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks