By: Sean Crose
“Back to training.”
It’s probably said a thousand times a day by athletes all over the world, regardless or age or location. When Manny Pacquiao posts those words on Twitter, however, people take notice for good reason. The iconic Filipino fighter (and also politician) is perhaps the single most exciting fighter since a prime Mike Tyson tore across the fight game. Even now, well into his forties, Pacquiao maintains the ability to excite. Which is why the man’s recent media post, which contains the quote above along with footage of a training regimen set to music, instantly brought in eyeballs.
The fact that Pacquiao’s next fight will be in July against current – and much younger – top welterweight Errol Spence will make this particular training camp all the more fascinating to watch. Here’s a man from the previous generation of fighters taking on a current king, but without the air of desperation that usually permeates these kinds of events. Most people may be picking Pacquiao to lose, but no one expects the sad sight of a younger man trouncing an older one. Spence may be favored, but many might argue he’s going to have his hands full with the man from General Santos City.
After watching a prime Keith Thurman being outhustled by Pacquiao in 2019, few will underestimate Pacquiao’s ability to remain a live dog again in 2021. He’s in Bernard Hopkins territory here, and, as those who followed Hopkins in the unending late stages of his career can attest, some fighters just have a way of staying on top. Like Hopkins, Pacquiao has faced a who’s who of notables: Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez and countless others in a famous career that has now extended past a full quarter of a century.
Another interesting thing about Pacquiao is that he’s fascinating to watch train. Once he arrives back in California to work with long time trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao can be seen running among a group of followers up the hill to the top of Griffith Park before he engages in aerobic style exercises amongst a throng of fans and media. And this is hours before he heads to Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym to begin his work with Roach each day. Soft spoken and polite by nature, Pacquiao is the rare individual who simply has the ability to attract attention without an inordinate amount of effort.
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