A thrilled Manny Pacquiao formally started his training on Monday, May 8, in preparation for his upcoming match against Australian Jeff Horn.
The Filipino boxing champion is set to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight title against Horn on July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
“I am excited to go back to the gym after about a six-month’s lay off. I really miss training at the gym with the members of Team Pacquiao and fans around,” Pacquiao told PhilBoxing.com.
Pacquiao, who is also a member of the Philippine Senate, has apparently been busy with his legislative duties since his unanimous win against Jessie Vargas last November 5.
But even with almost six months of inactivity, his childhood friend and co-trainer Buboy Fernandez is confident that the boxer-senator will be in his best form during his July fight.
“He trains hard at the gym and keeps himself in good shape even when there’s no fight. So, we expect him to be in tip-top shape during the scheduled fight,” Fernandez said.
Pacquiao is training at Elorde Boxing Gym near the Mall of Asia commercial complex until May 31.
Fernandez and Nonoy Neri are overseeing the initial phase of his training. Meanwhile, coach Freddie Roach is expected to arrive in the Philippines later this week.
By the end of the month, Pacquiao said he’ll start training at his own Wildcard Boxing Gym in General Santos City until the third week of June.
Despite being a heavy favorite, Pacquiao said that he’s not going to underestimate Horn.
Pacquiao’s nine-week training schedule against Horn is apparently his longest since his match against to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, during which he trained for more than two months.
“Katunayan yan na (To be honest) I’m not taking this fight lightly as some sectors think I am,” Pacquiao said. “At hindi ko rin ina-underestimate and kalaban ko (And I am not underestimating my opponent).”
Pacquiao, 38, has a record of 59-6-2 win-loss-draw. He won his last match via unanimous decision and defended his WBO welterweight title against Jessie Vargas last year.
On the other hand, 29-year-old Horn has a record of 16-0-1 and 11 KOs.
The Philippine Congress will start its month-long break on June 1 and will resume its session on July 2.