This snapshot (below) taken by yours truly at the hallway of SM Cinema at the SM Mall of Asia.
The hype is on again !
There will be blood
By all indications, Manny Pacquiao’s preparation for his challenge to David Diaz’s WBC lightweight crown on June 28 is going well.
As we reported in this column last Tuesday, the major change that has made this training special is Manny’s determination to turn his back on some bad habits and instead undertake a major lifestyle change.
When his confidant businessman Rex "Wakee" Salud excitedly informed us of the "transformation" we were initially skeptical, as it may just be part of the promotional hoopla. But when he started to give us details and first-person experiences, we concluded he was giving it to us straight.
Salud admitted that the run-up to the actual training in the last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez was less than stellar, with Manny indulging in activities which were inimical to his preparation and over-all well-being.
According to Salud, Manny had kept late nights and basically threw caution to the winds weeks before training. This may have exacted a toll on his performance in the fight.
But right after the fight, he immediately underwent some sort of "awakening".
"I think he finally realized that he needs to discipline himself more now that he is one of the most sought-after prizefighters in the world," says the longtime boxing manager and promoter.
It’s no secret that everyone within 10 pounds of Manny’s weight class seeks a fight with him that would ensure a megabuck purse and more importantly, instant fame and legendary status if one is able to bring down the pacman.
But if Salud’s information is half-way accurate, that’s going to take some doing. Personally, I think Pacquiao’s motivation also stems from the fact that some people (including Manny himself) have found his latest performances wanting. Manny told me he felt something was missing in his last three fights.
Sure, he won all of them — against Solis, Barrera and Marquez. But the manner that he won those fights was not the way his fans, and apparently Manny himself, expected him to. From the time he started to get into the local boxing fan’s radar screen as a flyweight, Pacquiao was known to give the audience a heady dose of excitement and suspense, win or lose. Mostly win, of course.
I still recall the deafening cheers that drowned out our voices in our headsets whenever Manny would go on one of his relentless attacks against an opponent in our old "Blow by Blow" television days in different venues around the country.
Pacquiao had a hypnotic effect on the audience that turned them delirious with the anticipation of a dramatic ending. He rarely disappointed, and consequently brought the mayhem to the international stage which he now rules.
I refer again to a conversation I had with him before the Marquez fight when he indicated that he wanted to bring back the hunger he had as a struggling fighter. He said that gave him the drive and the strength to give it all he got whenever he was in the ring.
Obviously, it’s not going to be easy to reprise those lean times as these days he is nowhere near struggling level, financially or professionally.
But he has taken a crucial step towards attaining that stage of "hunger" by shunning the carefree ways of old.
David Diaz, despite the heavy odds pundits have stacked against him, is no push-over and is presumably aware of whatever is lacking in Pacquiao’s psyche . He will certainly be looking to pounce on it if it presents itself.
A 1996 Olympian who represented the United States as a light-welterweight, he is known to pack power in his gloves just like Pacquiao.
Although observed as comparatively slow with a penchant of standing in front of his opponent-factors that seem perfect for Pacquiao’s style- Diaz’s single-minded determination borne out of the realization that "this is the biggest fight of my career, bigger than winning the title or beating a legend like Erik Morales" makes him more dangerous.
Diaz, more than anyone else, realizes that even if he is the champion, Pacquiao will bring in the crowd and the greenbacks. It is up to him to try and turn it around.
With both fighters properly motivated, and with both of them known to pack a wallop, it seems fair to conclude — there will be blood.
article source : http://www.mb.com.ph/SPRT20080606126676.html
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