MANILA, Philippines – Just like many Filipinos, boxing star Manny Pacquiao likes basketball. He plans to include basketball in his training regimen, but only in the early phase.
“Pang ano ito...more stamina at pampatibay ng tuhod (It builds up stamina and strengthens the knees),” said the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion.
Pacquiao said he plans to play basketball 3 to 4 times a week in Baguio. However, he said he will stop playing one month before the fight.
The boxer teamed up with his brother Bobby, and his sparring mates Glen Tapia and Michael Medina, and played against a basketball team in Baguio on Monday night.
The Filipino boxing superstar is currently training for his November 13 fight against Mexico’s Antonio Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas. The two will be fighting for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight crown.
Pacquiao said he is steadily getting back into shape. He is confident that he will be in tip top condition on fight night.
“Paganda ng paganda ang stamina natin at mahaba pa ang panahon para makuha ang 100 percent condition natin (My stamina is getting better and better and we still have time to achieve 100 percent conditioning),” said the Filipino.
Explosive in gym
Inside the gym, Pacquiao showed explosive power, especially during his mitt session with his coach, Freddie Roach.
He said Pacquiao already has the knockout power they need against Margarito.
“I've never seen a person get in shape so fast. I mean if you look at him, you'd say he's ready to box tomorrow,” said Roach.
Pacquiao will test this power when he begins sparring on Thursday.
His sparring mates, Tapia and Medina, matches Margarito’s build and can also mimic the Mexican’s boxing style.
Tapia of the US stands at 5' 11" and has more than 100 victories in his amateur career. He also holds 5 knockouts in 7 wins as a pro.
Mexico’s Medina, on the other hand, stands 6-feet flat. He already has 24 wins against 2 losses. -- With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News