PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — STILL a full month before he embarks on the biggest, richest fight of his career, Manny Pacquiao declared himself fit and ready against an adversary considered one of the biggest names in boxing history.
Now in his fourth week of training at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles for his December 6 bout with superstar Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao on Tuesday said he’s already 80 to 90 percent fit for the 12-round fight dubbed as the ‘Dream Match.’
“One month to go, but 80 to 90 percent na tayo. We’re just working out dun sa stamina natin, tapos try natin na i-maintain ito hanggang fight night,” said the 29-year old boxing champion in a special phone patch during yesterday’s PSA Forum at the Shakey’s U.N. Avenue branch.
Pacquiao believes the four remaining weeks would just be enough for him to be 100 percent ready against an opponent heavily favored to win owing to his great advantages in both height and reach.
He has yet to approximate the number of sparring rounds he already did, the latest of which was against 2004 Athens Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan.
Khan, the boxing prospect from England, is also being trained by Freddie Roach now. After going eight rounds with the Filipino southpaw over the weekend, he was confident enough to defy the odds and say that Pacquiao has a legitimate shot of beating an aging but still dangerous De La Hoya.
“Manny’s in great shape, very explosive, very fast, you don’t know where his punches are coming from. He’s got a good chance to beat Oscar
“Manny’s in great shape — very explosive, very fast, you don’t know where his punches are coming from. He’s got a good chance to beat Oscar,” said Khan as quoted by Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.
Standing at 5-foot-11, Khan is just as tall as De La Hoya and with a deadly jab as good as the former six-time world champion.
“I’m very quick, with a good jab like Oscar, and I’m taller than Manny, like Oscar,” he said.
“Manny’s so sharp and quick. Speed is power. Manny’s got a good chin to handle what Oscar throws at him. He’ll just be too explosive for Oscar and he’s a big puncher himself.”
Despite the complimentary remarks, Pacquiao refused to make any predictions for the fight that has a catchweight of 147 pounds.
“You know me. I don’t make any predictions. What I do is train hard and hope to surprise everybody. Can I knock him out? It will come if you’re a hundred percent fit,” he said in the conference call made possible through the facilities of DZSR Sports Radio 918.
The southpaw from Gen. Santos City said after this fight he’s planning one or two more fights before he calls it a day. It may include fights with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Juan Manuel Marquez.
“There’s no problem with me if its Mayweather. You know me. I’m ready to fight. I’m not avoiding Marquez, too. If I can fight Oscar then I can fight him a third time – if the price is right,” he said.
He also said he doesn’t mind if Dela Hoya has tapped a brand-new team composed of trainers Nacho Beristain and Angelo Dundee to help the latter prepare for this fight.
“Maybe they couldn’t agree on certain things that’s why there are changes in their team,” he said.
Pacquiao is currently at 150 to 152 pounds but said by the middle of November he should be around two or three pounds away from the 147-pound weight limit.
“I’m just trying to maintain my weight so I wouldn’t be too light with still one month left,” said Pacquiao, adding that with the addition of plyometrics it has been the most difficult training so far in his career.
Plyometrics is a special form of exercise that helps an athlete add up in power and size without really losing his speed. He does these exercises behind closed doors.