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Pacquiao in good spirits

2015-02-25 17:43
Manny Pacquiao (File)

Manila - Underdog Manny Pacquiao has said on Wednesday he has a simple tactic to beat American favourite Floyd Mayweather in history's richest fight by two longtime rivals for the planet's top "pound-for-pound" boxer crown.

"Use my left and right (fists)," the Filipino boxing hero told reporters when asked how he planned to deal with his undefeated foe's height and reach advantage, as well as famed defensive skills.

"If I hurt him I expect him to run. Otherwise he might fight me toe-to-toe."

The Philippines is in the throes of "Pacmania" as the 36-year-old, dubbed "The National Fist" by local media, is set to fly to the United States to train for the May 2 Las Vegas bout.

The 38-year-old Mayweather, tipped as the favourite by bookmakers after announcing the megabucks fight last weekend, has not lost any of his 47 fights, in which he has scored 26 knockouts.

Pacquiao has 57 victories and five defeats to his name, including two suffered as recently as 2012. He has two draws and 38 knockouts.

But he exuded confidence Wednesday as he gave out free pizzas to supporters while preparing for his third game as a basketball player in the Philippines' top professional league.

His determination to play for his Kia Carnival team has raised fears he might get injured before the fight, which US media report could net him an $80 million pay cheque.

"I know what I'm doing," said the 1.69-metre (5-foot 6-inch) Pacquiao, a devout Christian who is also the shortest and oldest player in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

He said he would also hit the court again on Saturday, hours before his US flight.

"My Lord, my God, He is the Creator of everything. He knows everything," he added, pointing to the ceiling and repeating his mantra that God will keep him from harm.

Unlike his boxing, however, Pacquiao's basketball career has been underwhelming.

He has scored one solitary point, off a free throw, in his rookie season as player-coach for Kia Carnival.

"That's fine. What's important is my team won. I needed to play to inspire my teammates," he said Wednesday as his courtside struggles continued, going 0-2 with an airball in just under six minutes of play.

With him riding the bench for the rest of the game, his team beat the Talk N'Text team, 106-103, their third win against four defeats.

Pacquiao downplayed criticism by ex-National Basketball Association player Daniel Orton, who was fired by a rival PBA team last week for describing the boxing champ's basketball skills as a "joke".

"Poor guy," Pacquiao said, adding: "I will not react because I would be going down to his level.

"It's like this: No person has ever succeeded without being criticised."

His courtside fans also backed him.

"Everyone has a right to strut their stuff," 36-year-old housewife Ginalyn Lacsana said as she cheered the Kia team from her ringside seat.

"You have to show respect," agreed Ramli de las Armas, 29, who went to the PBA games while on vacation from work abroad as a machine operator in Saudi Arabia.

Read more on:    manny pacquiao  |  boxing
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