Los Angeles - Manny Pacquiao's seven-month hiatus can hardly
be considered a retirement but there is no doubt that the eight division boxing
champ used the time off to reflect on his passion for the sport.
"I thought I wouldn't see you again, but now I'm here
to continue my journey," said the newly elected Philippines senator who is
in the final days of preparations for Saturday's title fight against Jessie
Vargas in Las Vegas.
"I respect Vargas and his team, how dedicated they are.
I feel what he's feeling right now because I've been there when I was 27 years
old, 28 years old and I know how hungry I was."
Pacquiao is an eight division world champion, something he
takes great pride in. It is a record that trainer Freddie Roach thinks will not
be broken in his lifetime.
"Winning world titles in eight divisions is not that
easy," Pacquiao said. "I am so blessed to be a part of boxing history
by winning them.
"That is not me boasting. I am just happy to be a part
of the history."
Pacquiao looked impressive in April when he dominated
Timothy Bradley in their third fight - one he said would be his last.
Now if he gets past World Boxing Organisation welterweight
champ Vargas, as many think he will, Pacquiao could be looking at a fight
against unbeaten Terence Crawford in 2017.
The way Pacquiao's been able to juggle 14 hour days in the
Philippines backs up the notion he could continue to fight for some time at a
In a typical day of wearing two hats, he says he wakes up
for a 07:00 run. He has to be at the Senate at 10:00. for meetings and then
the afternoon sessions run until 17:00. He goes to the gym in the evening where
he works out until 21:00 before heading home.
"It's not easy being a senator working in the office
and being a boxer while you're training. It's hard, but it's a good thing when
you are happy and enjoying it," said Pacquiao.
No fighter can go on forever but Pacquiao is still one of
the most recognizable names in boxing and is training with renewed energy says
"What I'm thinking when I prepared for this fight was I
have to make sure I'm in condition and work hard even though I'm working in the
office," Pacquiao said.
The 27-year-old Vargas is 10 years younger than Pacquiao and
will have a five inch height and four-inch reach advantage when they step into
the ring at the Thomas & Mack Centre arena.
"I had a great training camp. This has been my best to
date," said Vargas. "I'm very happy with my team, they're bringing
out the best in me.
"We're looking stronger, faster, we've over-exceeded
every aspect in training when it comes to speed, power, intelligence in the
ring, ring savvy."
Vargas is hoping to catch Pacquiao with his guard down, much
like Juan Manuel Marquez did in his 2012 knockout of Pacman to win their fourth
"We have a strong hook, we have a strong right, either
way. If he wants to sneak over to the right we'll catch him there, if he wants
to sneak over to the left we'll get him there," Vargas said.