Coach: Pacquiao ‘110 per cent fit’ ahead of Malaysian showdown

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Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse make weight for their WBA world title bout in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo courtesy of Cedrick Basco on Twitter: @cedrickkbasco)

Manny Pacquiao’s coach says he is “110 per cent fit” as he prepares for his Malaysian showdown with World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse.

The senator pugilist weighed in at a trim 146 pounds today (Saturday, July 14) for his clash with his Argentinian opponent, who also made weight at 146.7 pounds.

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The eight-division champion and Matthysse, who is known as a knockout specialist, were comfortably below the 147-pound limit when they stepped on a scale ahead of tomorrow’s bout, which has been dubbed the “fight of champions”.

Matthysse has said he will have “no respect” as he seeks to knock out 11-time champion Pacquiao and defend his title in the Kuala Lumpur bout.

Speaking after the weigh-in, Matthysse’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said: “I know Manny Pacquiao brings an intense energy in a fight, so we are ready for that. All we need to do is just to keep composed, make sure that he is ready to catch Manny at the right time and have no respect for Manny.”

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The main advantage for Matthysse, known as ‘The Machine’ for winning 36 out of his 39 fights by knockout, is his strength and ability to deliver power punches from both hands, Diaz said.

“All I can say is this… it’s not going to be an easy fight for Manny Pacquiao. If Lucas lands any punches on Pacquiao, he will hurt him because he hits real hard,’ Diaz added.

“Lucas Matthysse is stepping up to the level of opposition. He’s fighting against a legend and he’s in the best shape of his life. Everything is at stake for him. He is defending his title and secondly, he knows by beating Manny Pacquiao, it will be in the history books.”

Senator Pacquiao, who turns 40 in December, returns to the ring a year after his controversial loss on points to Australian Jeff Horn.

Pacquiao has won 59 fights, including 38 by knockout, and lost seven times — three by knockout — along with two draws.

Tomorrow will be the first time since 2001 that the Pacman is fighting without trainer Freddie Roach, who was dropped in the run-up to the Malaysian fight and replaced with former assistant coach Buboy Fernandez.

The Duterte loyalist will also be getting support from the president, who will be at ringside to watch the match ahead of an official visit to Malaysia.

Pacquiao is ‘110 per cent fit’ physically and mentally, his conditioning coach Justin Fortune said after the weigh-in.

The Australian said age isn’t a barrier for Pacquiao and that he has been able to juggle the sport along his political duties and other multiple interests.

“He’s in great condition. For 16 years, Pacquiao has been at the top, No 1 of world champions. His longevity at this level in this sport is unprecedented,” Fortune said.

“Every fight for Pacquiao is the same way: very, very important fight. We take every fight seriously. Matthysse is a dangerous guy as was with every other fighter that Manny fought.”

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