PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — LOOKING fit and ready to go, Manny Pacquiao has impressed even the man whom he’ll be fighting inside the ring five days from now.
“He looked pretty good to me,” admitted David Diaz who’s staking his World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title against the Filipino this Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“He looked pretty big. I was a little surprised he made the weight, to be honest.”
Sporting a new haircut to complement a trim physique that has undergone a total of 140 rounds of sparring in a two-month span, Pacquiao indeed, looked every bit set to plunge in his first foray in the 135-pound division even if the fight is held today.
Now just three pounds over the weight limit, the Filipino icon many considered as the current world’s best, pound-for-pound, doesn’t see any problem this time concerning his weight the way he struggled in the past trying to meet the 130-pound limit as a super-featherweight .
Everything is just going perfectly according to their pre-fight plan.
“I have no concerns, and everything is where it’s supposed to be,” said Pacquiao’s equally popular trainer Freddie Roach.
Light training and some road works leading to the fight will take care of the excess poundage, according to Roach.
The excess poundage, Roach added, will be over in the remaining days.
‘We’ve already cut back on the workout and made sure we don’t leave everything in the gym,” said the bespectacled Hall of Fame trainer. “Stay loose and stay ready for the fight.”
A day after arriving in ‘Sin City’, Pacquiao woke up early, jogged for 30 minutes around the University of Nevada Las Vegas oval and then did some stretching and situps amidst the sweltering heat that reached over 100 degrees.
He later had a walk-in at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where a throng of mediamen both from print and broadcast, interviewed him.
In the afternoon, the three-time world champion worked out at the IBA gym for one and a half hour.
Pacquiao admitted he’s comfortable at his current fighting weight, despite making his first ever incursion into the lightweight class.
“I’m comfortable at 135 pounds,” he said. “I walk around at about 145, 150 pounds. So, it’s a good weight for me. I am gradually growing up slowly, not jumping too many weight divisions, waiting until my body is comfortable.”
Fighting in the highest weight class he’s ever been in his 13-year pro career may have an effect on both his speed and power, according to Pacquiao, but not big enough for him to lose against a natural lightweight as the 32-year-old Diaz.
“I think my speed and footwork will be the key to the fight. I think my power will still be there, but the key to my fight is my speed,” he said.
Roach is on the same page as his famous ward. “He might not be as quick at 135 pounds as he was at 130, but still he is going to be much, much faster than David Diaz,” said Roach.
Meanwhile, veteran Vic Drakulich has been named as the third man in the ring for the 12-round title fight between Pacquiao and Diaz. The referee is best remembered as the same man who officiated the third Pacquiao-Morales fight in 2006, one that saw the Filipino inflicting a third round knockout win against the legendary Mexican fighter.
On the other hand, the three judges working the bout are CJ Ross, Gary Merrit and Paul Smith.