Pac­man not in a mood to gam­ble with Chris Al­gieri

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - JEFF POW­ELL

Manny Pac­quiao used to come to Ma­cau of­ten. Not to fight, but to play in the casi­nos which rake in more rev­enue than their name­sakes in Las Ve­gas.

That was be­fore he found pol­i­tics, bas­ket­ball and God.

The only boxer ever to win world ti­tles in eight weight di­vi­sions re­calls: “Back when I loved to gam­ble I was here a lot.”

This time the Pac­Man is here to fight Chris Al­gieri.

The Amer­i­can is five years younger, three-and-a-half inches taller, un­de­feated and a world light-wel­ter cham­pion.

Not only is Pac­quiao’s world wel­ter­weight ti­tle at stake, but his hopes of a po­ten­tial bil­lion­dol­lar fight with Floyd May­weather next year. So could this be a big­ger gam­ble than any wa­ger he laid in his partly mis­spent youth? Not re­ally, it seems.

This time he has done the road work, the thou­sand sit-ups a day, the hun­dreds of rounds of spar­ring and he says: “There is no pres­sure be­cause of what could hap­pen with Floyd. I am fully fo­cused on Al­gieri.

“I’m back to how I felt a few years ago. Fit, fast, strong. I’m not tak­ing Chris lightly. I’m not look­ing past him. Only God pre­dicts what will hap­pen but I am con­fi­dent. “I have worked to bring back the early days, those when I was at my best and fin­ished fights early.’ At 35, he feels 26 again. There was talk of dis­trac­tion when, as a Philip­pines con­gress­man, he an­nounced his in­ten­tion to run for se­nate.

Then, as a 5ft 6½in boxer, he took over a bas­ket­ball team. But trainer Fred­die Roach con­firms: “We ne­go­ti­ated an agree­ment. I know Manny needs to be busy in many ar­eas so we gave him a pass for one bas­ket­ball game and then he com­mit­ted to train­ing for this fight the way he used to in what peo­ple re­gard as his prime. Now he’s as ready as he’s ever been.’

If they are right, this is bad news for Al­gieri, who dis­plays no doubt that he can pull off one of the prize-ring’s ma­jor up­sets.

“Manny is one of the greats but I have the skills to de­feat him,’ he says.

At which, the Pac­Man smiles. Kindly, but con­vinced he holds all the chips. And ut­terly im­per­vi­ous to the temp­ta­tions of the gaming floor at the Vene­tian Ho­tel. – Daily Mail

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PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

FISTS OF FURY: Manny Pac­quiao (left) and Chris Al­gieri dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at The Vene­tian.

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