by Nick Giongco
It was business as usual for Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing Club on Fourth of July when his sparring partners opted to chill and take a break from all the banging and pounding.
Pacquiao showed up for work on Thursday afternoon all dressed up for battle, just over two weeks before he attempts to silence Keith Thurman in their world welterweight unification fight on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“He’s on fire,” said Pacquiao’s right-hand man Sean Gibbons, who witnessed how his boss cracked Freddie Roach’s mitts with his furious fists.
While ordinary Americans had to wait ‘til sundown to watch fireworks explode in the Southern California night sky, Pacquiao’s people saw and heard theirs while the blazing sun was still out.
After his holiday workout, Pacquiao headed out of the famed sweat shop on Vine Street in Hollywood humming the Star Spangled Banner as he had belted out the last few opening lines while being filmed.
Sparring resumes on Saturday but while the level of intensity will remain the same, the number of rounds will decrease as the 40-year-old Pacquiao enters the tapering off period.
Pacquiao, whose last fight was in January, an easy win over another loudmouth in Adrien Broner, arrived in the US on June 15 after spending several weeks of training in Manila.
Thurman, 30, is also entering the final stages of his preparation in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has remained loquacious all training camp.
But Pacquiao and his men are raring to teach him a lesson as the brash American has gone overboard with his pre-fight antics.
Roughly two weeks before their head-on collision, the drama is building up for what is being seen as a fight of the year candidate.