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Salud urges Pacquiao to focus on megafight

EIGHT-TIME world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, left, and PBA commissioner Chito Salud during the press conference last year announcing Pacquiao’s appointment as playing-coach of expansion team Kia Motors.

For now don’t even think about playing, says PBA commissioner

Manny Pacquiao eased into training mode shortly after being told that Floyd Mayweather finally broke his silence and made the announcement that their May 2 showdown is on.

Pacquiao showed up for a session of punch mitts and shadowboxing in General Santos City yesterday afternoon, kicking off the initial stage of his two-month buildup for the unification welterweight bout with the undefeated American at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The gym session actually was preceded by a morning roadwork and Pacquiao, a 3-1 underdog against the fighter many regard as the best in the world pound-for-pound, knew he has to go the extra mile in the hopes of upsetting Mayweather.

Those who milled around him oozed with excitement but Pacquiao kept his emotions in check, probably because he knew all along that the fight was going to take place and that it was just a matter of time before Mayweather would make it public.

“Why are you all so pumped up and excited?” asked Pacquiao to those who asked him about Mayweather.

Pacquiao was obviously trying to act as if everything’s happening was just normal but his decision to pack his bags and head to the gym that he owns is proof the fighting congressman already feels the itch to train and get ready for the biggest fight of his life.

Now that Mayweather has made the announcement, Pacquiao will likely tone down his extra-curricular activities like playing for his Kia team in the PBA.

Last Wednesday, Pacquiao logged over four minutes en route to making a single point and an assist in a rousing win over defending champion Purefoods.

Kia is slated to meet Talk ‘N Text this Wednesday and it remains doubtful if Pacquiao will just stick to coaching or make himself available to suit up, a move that PBA commissioner Chito Salud is dangerous.

“He can continue to coach during his downtime from training, if he wants. But to play, don’t even think about it. The risk of injury is not worth it,” said Salud.

“This fight with Mayweather is his dream, our dreams as Filipinos. Boxing fans all over the world want to know who is the best pound for pound boxer of this era,” added Salud, whose father, the late Rodrigo, crafted the by-laws of the World Boxing Council when he served as secretary general in the late 1960s until the early-70s.