Macau — Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday he will show the world he is back to his very best by stopping pretender to his throne Chris Algieri in their world welterwight title contest in Macau.
It has been five years since Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) last stopped a fighter and the Filipino eight-weight world champion said he would blow away any lingering suggestion that his powers are on the wane two weeks before his 36th birthday.
“I’m very happy with my training camp because it was a new birth. It was like back to the old days – my speed and power and determination are back,” said a confident Pacquiao at a pre-fight news conference at the Venetian Macau on Wednesday night.
“I’m very excited by this fight and I know my opponent is excited to win this fight, but I won’t let that happen,” Pacquiao added.
Pacquiao will be aided in his quest at the weekend by defending his WBO welterweight (147lb) title against American Algieri, the WBO junior welterweight (140lb) champion, at a catchweight limit of 144lb.
“He wants to prove to everyone that he can still punch,” Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach told reporters earlier on Wednesday.
“That’s why we went to catchweight at 144. He’s never been a puncher at 147. He’s only knocked out two welterweights. That’s why the drop in weight.”
Welterweight Miguel Angel Cotto was the last man ‘Pacman’ stopped, on Nov. 14, 2009, and Roach has pushed Pacquiao through a punishing camp with increased heavy bag work to bring back the congressman from Sarangani province’s legendary punching power.
“When Manny hits the bag, the whole gym stops. I mean, everyone looks at the pop he has, the power and the speed,” said Roach as Pacquiao went through his paces in the gym.
“The heavy bag is for strength. The heavy bag was a vital part of our training camp for this fight.”
Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) is former kickboxer from Long Island dubbed the ‘real-life Rocky’ and he will have ‘silver screen Rocky’ Sylvester Stallone rooting for him at the Cotai Arena ringside come Sunday morning’s fight time (Saturday evening in the US).
But Roach declared it will be no fairytale ending for the 30 year old.
“He’s in way over his head,” said Roach. “Once that bell rings, this is not a Rocky movie. Trust me. Rocky’s going to get knocked out.”
There are two other world title fights on an explosive support card which begins at 8am local time Sunday (0000GMT) to cater for Saturday night TV audiences in the US.
WBO featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) and WBA super lightweight champion Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9 KOs) will each defend their titles against Thailand’s Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33 KOs) and Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs) respectively.
Another big draw at “the Clash in Cotai II’’ will be China’s national hero and double Olympic gold medallist Zou Shiming (5-0, 1 KO) who goes 12 rounds for the first time against Thailand’s Kwanpichiy Onesongchaigym (27-0, 12 KOs) in a fi nal eliminator for a world title shot.