KUALA LUMPUR–I’m back!
The fire is back in the eyes and belly of 39 year old Philippine
senator Manny Pacquiao who scored an emphatic knockout victory over
Lucas Martin Matthysse to win his 11th world title at 2:43 of the
seventh round Sunday afternoon at the Axiata Arena here.
Proving his critics wrong, Pacquiao put on a clinic of sorts as he
showed facets of his ring brilliance that were missing in his previous
fights since 2009 where he last won by knockout.
Before a screaming horde of fans led by the heads of state of Malaysia
and the Philippines, Pacquiao was brilliant, fast and accurate with
his timing and combinations, completely frustrating and flustering the
former WBA king.
“You have to love what you do in order to do what I still do as a
39-year-old fighter,” said Pacquiao, who trained hardest despite his
age, pushing himself to the limit.
But this time around, his new team of mostly Filipinos led by chief
trainer Buboy Fernandez, acknowledged his conditions and custom-fit a
new training regimen that brought back the power and the speed,
however diminished a bit.
“Do I look old,?” asked Pacquiao laughing in front of the members of
media at the post-fight press conference.
Every masterful stroke dealt by Pacquiao befuddled Matthysse who
secretly plotted to retire Pacquiao.
“Not today,” said Pacquiao, who was cheered on by Philip[pine
president Rodrigo Duterte who watched in the presidential suite with
new Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. “Of course, it was an
extra motivational tool for me to fight well and careful.”
Fernandez warned his ward not to be too confident when he knocked down
Matthysse for the second round, the Argentine taking a knee at the end
of the fifth round.
“It might have been a trick. But we were ready for Matthysse,” said a
beaming Fernandez, who for the first time, acted as chief trainer
aided by strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune and assistant
Raides “Nonoy” Neri. Cutman Edgardo de la Vega was not much needed as
Pacquiao was never in trouble.
“We will take a rest for now before we decide what to do next,” said
Pacquiao, who goes back to work this week as the Philippine Senate
opens its sessions.(pr)