LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao finally stepped on the brakes Thursday after weeks of running on the red line.
On the eve of the official weighin, Pacquiao was finally convinced to do a morning run and forget about tagging along his entourage for an afternoon workout that Freddie Roach had repeatedly told him was pointless.
There were fears that Pacquiao would not heed Roach’s call but the Filipino legend, who takes a crack at Jessie Vargas’ world welterweight title on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center, was finally convinced.
Two days before the fight, Pacquiao was in a relaxed mood as he spent the day entertaining several VIP friends who flew in from Manila and attending a Bible study at one of the function halls of The Wynn in the afternoon until the evening.
As he prepares to hit the scales at the Encore Theater at 3:15 pm (6:15 am of Saturday in Manila), Pacquiao is expected not do anything strenuous even though his handlers see him breezing past the weighin.
“His weight is not a problem,” said conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who predicts the eight-division champion to easily make the 147-lb limit.
It could not be determined if Vargas, younger by ten years at 27 and fresher and said to be hungrier and highly-motivated, will also make it without much difficulty.
At 5-10, Vargas towers over Pacquiao, who will be making is 27th appearance on American soil.
Vargas is the heavy underdog but feels a lot of people are naïve.
“Once I hit him (with my right hand), he will go down,” he said.
Earlier Thursday, his chief trainer Dewey Cooper echoed Vargas’ thoughts, boasting “if there’s anyone getting knocked out, it’s going to be Pacquiao.”
“Vargas doesn’t have a weak chin,” said Cooper while holding court at the press room, becoming more and more convinced that there’s going to be a changing of the guard Saturday night.
Even Top Rank head Bob Arum is not ruling that out.
“In boxing, there’s been this, a young fighter, a young lion taking over in the jungle world as the old lion gives way,” said Arum.
But Pacquiao insists that this is not yet the right time to pass the torch.
“I still feel great, I feel energized and you’ll see that on fight night.”