MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Manny Pacquiao has officially started his preparations for his showdown against Argentina's Lucas Matthysse at the Wild Card Gym in General Santos City.
Pacquiao built up his stamina with cardio workouts in the past week, and then reunited with longtime friends and trainers Buboy Fernandez and Raides "Nonoy" Neri. They have now begun doing regular gym drills while also planning pre-fight strategies.
The "Pacman" is set to challenge Matthysse at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, with the Argentinian fighter's WBA welterweight championship on the line.
"I am excited to return to the ring once again and face a dangerous champion in a difficult and challenging fight," said Pacquiao.
"I am inspired as I am also excited to face the champion," added the Filipino boxer, who will fight for the first time since losing in controversial fashion to Australian fighter Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July 2017.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao did mitts work with Fernandez, his boyhood neighbor and trusted lieutenant throughout his career. They started off slow, but are hoping to pick up steam in the middle stages of the training camp.
Pacquiao also pounded the heavy bag and finished with his usual abs work routine.
Pacquiao is taking advantage of the senate recess to train without distractions before resuming work on May 14 to June 1 when the senate reconvenes. He will then get his final push in the whole month of June up until fight day in Kuala Lumpur.
Pacquiao also serves of the promoter of the event, which will be the biggest boxing extravaganza in Malaysia since Muhammad Ali faced Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur 43 years ago.
Aside from the Pacquiao-Matthysse main event, three other world title fights will be held in the undercard. MP Promotions is also assembling other supporting bouts.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.