WHEN he climbs the ring this Saturday (Sunday, Manila time), Manny Pacquiao is confident he will surprise so many, foremost of them the very man he will challenge for the WBO welterweight title.
For most of the people handling the Filipino ring idol, Pacquiao has that devastating form that has allowed him to silence so many others who believed they had a formula to defeat him.
“A lot of fighters have said for many years that when they watch my style on TV – even from ringside – that it looks easy to handle. When you step into the ring with me, you’re surprised by the speed, my power, being heavy-handed,” Pacquiao told Philboxing.com.
“A heavy-handed boxer is different than a strong boxer,” added Pacquiao.
Pacquiao made the retort obviously in response to the many concerns being raised against him, including the many apparent advantages of Jessie Vargas whom he will face at the Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vargas, who is making the first defence of his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt, is 10-years younger than Manny, stands five inches taller and has a four-inch reach advantage.
How can Vargas himself not be confident in their scheduled 12-round meeting?
Vargas has earlier said he sees in him coming out with a big victory in front of the entire world in spectacular fashion and surprising everyone.
“I am going to use every advantage I have in this fight,” declared Vargas who sports an enviable 27-1 card, 10 of them by knockouts.
Pacquiao has won the same belt on three other occasions, although the 37-year-old Filipino fighter hasn’t scored a knockout since he stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in 2009.
Still, people who have been religiously following him since he started pitching camp in the Philippines and all the way to the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles are convinced Pacquiao has what it takes to make a follow-up to his unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley last April.
“Many of those [opposing] game plans haven’t worked out so well,” Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach had said.
“I know there’s some things being said by [Vargas] and his [trainer] … about their plan, but we have ours, too, and my fighter is as sharp as a tack today,” added the Hall of Fame trainer.
“I just have to maintain him and keep him right where he is,” he added.
Pacquiao’s speed is typically the first thing that startles foes, reason why the seven-time trainer of the year awardee was so pleased with what he’s seen from Pacquiao in training camp.
“He showed every bit of his speed, He’s as good now as he ever was, in my mind,” said Roach.
Even long-time sparring partner Ray Beltran, a former 140-pound title challenger, will tell you Pacquiao’s punch is so strong that he could felt pretty much stung despite headgear during one of their sparring sessions.
“He stung me with a left,” Beltran said last week. “Once Manny gets him, Vargas won’t be able to keep up. Manny is poison for Vargas’ style. [Vargas] is a brawler. He likes to fight, but Manny takes a punch very well. He’s strong and keeps throwing punches.”
Pacquiao, who will go down in history as the first sitting senator to win a world title if he succeeds and WBO welterweight champion Vargas were accorded grand arrival honors at the Wynn Resort & Casino in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday, Manila).