People power fuels Pacquiao for Thurman battle

June 22, 2019
Manny Pacquiao
PACQUIAO: I want to be with people.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - After a boxing career that has spanned nearly a quarter of a century and 70 professional contests, it is little surprise that Manny Pacquiao has his training regime honed to perfection.

On July 20, the 40-year-old Filipino icon will climb into the ring for the 71st time when he faces Keith Thurman at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, aiming to capture the undefeated American’s World Boxing Association super world welterweight crown.

To prepare himself for a contest that the younger, hard-hitting Thurman has vowed to ensure will be Pacquiao’s last, the veteran superstar will rely on a formula that has served him so well over the years.

Pacquiao wakes at around dawn each day in the multi-million-dollar mansion that has been his Los Angeles base for the past decade.

If sparring is scheduled for later in the day, Pacquiao will embark on a light morning workout, jogging to a park two miles from his home where he runs laps, shadow boxes and performs core work.

On non-sparring days, he heads to Griffith Park, for a longer, more gruelling run in the hills which frame the sprawling Californian metropolis.

Accompanying him are around two dozen training partners, security, friends and fans, a feature of Pacquiao’s rise to the pinnacle of his sport.

At a recent morning workout, a crowd of around 100 people, many from Los Angeles’ large Filipino community, gather to watch as the eight-division world champion grimaces his way through a series of sit-ups and crunches, occasionally pausing to check his phone.

When it is over, Pacquiao heads back to a home that is soon a hive of activity. To the casual observer the household has a vague air of organized chaos.

At most hours of the day in his luxurious 4,200 square foot, five-bedroom residence — decorated with portraits of his family and large framed photographs of his signature victories — dozens of loosely affiliated members of “Team Pacquiao” are milling around.

The unrelenting hum would be anathema for more reclusive fighters, who prefer to conduct their training camps in seclusion, away from prying eyes.

Pacquiao, though, says simply that he is a people person. The ever-present throng energizes him.

“I want to have people around so that I’m motivated,” he tells AFP after a breakfast of white rice, broth and grilled meat prepared by his Filipino chefs.

“My feeling is that I don’t want anybody to see me being lazy. I want to impress them every day. I love it, as long as it’s not distracting me or affecting my training.”

Some of his closest confidantes, however, have mixed feelings about the