Manny Pacquiao has been installed as an odds-on favorite for his WBO welterweight title defense against Shane Mosley, but the Filipino has taken great pains not to underestimate his US challenger.
While Pacquiao is already acknowledged as one of the best offensive fighters of all time, he said on Wednesday he had not prepared for a fight in such intense fashion since he took on 10-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya three years ago.
“I have trained hard for this fight,” Pacquiao, who has a career record of 52-3-2 with 38 knockouts, told a packed news conference at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theater. “I am in 100 percent condition. You know why? Because I never underestimate Mosley. Mosley is a good fighter. Do you think he’s old? He’s not old. He moves like a 32-year-old, a 31-year-old. His hand speed and foot speed is still strong.”
Mosley, a four-time world champion in three weight divisions, is a boxing veteran at 39 and many critics believe he is a shadow of the man who twice beat De La Hoya.
Yet it has often been said that styles make fights and Pacquiao knows full well that his opponent, an agile and highly intelligent boxer, loves to attack.
“Mosley is not that easy [an] opponent,” the 32-year-old Filipino, who was smartly dressed in a black suit and white dress shirt, said of their showdown tomorrow. “He is a good fighter. He is strong, he throws a lot of punches and he moves fast. He is the kind of fighter you can’t under-estimate.”
Asked by reporters when he had last felt a similar level of concern preparing for a bout, Pacquiao replied: “The De La Hoya fight. De La Hoya throws a lot of punches, moves fast and is bigger and taller.”
Pacquiao, moving up two weight classes for his first fight at welterweight, stunned De La Hoya with an eighth-round TKO in their non-title fight in Las Vegas in December 2008.
That victory confirmed the Filipino’s pedigree and he has since won a further four fights, most recently an eighth world title in an unprecedented eighth weight class against Mexican Antonio Margarito in November.
Last week, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said his fighter had never prepared better for a bout, and he emphasized the point during Wednesday’s news conference.
“We know we’re in a tough fight,” the bespectacled Roach said. “We respect Shane and his camp. They have a great team. But we are 100 percent ready. Everybody has worked really hard at this training camp. I think it’s the best training camp we’ve ever had and Manny is in the best shape ever. We need to peak for this fight, because Shane’s one of the most crafty guys out there. He’s intelligent and experienced and you can’t replace experience, that’s for sure.”