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Sunday, April 26, 2009

‘PacMan’ sees even May 2 matchup

HOLLYWOOD: Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao brushed off odds favoring him nearly 3-1 against junior British welterweight star Ricky Hatton, as he winded down his rigorous two-month training camp at the famous Wild Card Gym here.

“We both have hands,” Pacquiao told a group of Filipino sport writers on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). “I don’t believe in odds, because when fight night comes it will be just me and Hatton.”

Pacquiao, the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, declined to predict the outcome of his megabuck clash with Hatton at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

“Pareho lang naman may tari, eh (we both are have our gloves on)” Pacquiao joked when told of the ongoing odds which makes him a heavy favorite by Las Vegas bookmakers.

Current betting odds are heavily stacked in his favor at minus 285 – meaning a $285 bet wins just $100 if he wins.

Pacquiao refused to be carried away by his trainer Freddie Roach’s prediction of an early, easy knockout win for him.

He said he would rather look at the junior welterweight match-up as an even bout, stressing that Hatton is a great fighter who probably trained as hard as he did.

Pacquiao, the only Asian world champion in four different weight divisions, said he has done everything in training camp and that he feels ready for “anything that Hatton brings to the ring.”

Excellent shape

Conditioning expert Alex Ariza said Pacquiao “is in excellent shape both physically and mentally.”

“You guys saw how hard Manny trains. He’s unbelievably at his peak now – quick, sharp and strong,” Ariza said.

From now until fight night on Saturday, Ariza said Pacquiao will be limited to light workouts— shadow boxing, calisthenics, stretching and a little jogging.

He demonstrated his sharpness, sparring three frenetic rounds with a muscular Russian junior welterweight whose movements resemble those of Hatton; and two more rounds with David Rodela (12-1-2, with six knockouts), a five-foot-eleven lightweight from Oxnard, California.

Pacquiao was a delight to watch, not just sparring, but also when he worked the heavy bag, the speedball and did a lot of shadow boxing or just skipping ropes.

His lead Filipino trainer and friend Buboy Fernandez said Pacquiao would rest Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Fernandez said Pacquiao would attend Mass with his family and members of Team Pacquiao to be capped by a Filipino luncheon at Manny’s home located a few miles from the gym.


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