Manny Pacquiao’s knockout power went absent for nine years, but his boxing intellect never stopped expanding.
So as he steps toward his first fight as a 40-year-old in Saturday’s World Boxing Assn. secondary welterweight title defense against former four-division champion Adrien Broner at MGM Grand, Pacquiao expects to flex his cerebral muscles to dissect his 29-year-old foe.
“Not only do I train my physical body, I train my mind,” Pacquiao told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday before the news conference for his Showtime pay-per-view bout. “I’m a senator [in the Philippines], so my mind is always busy. Also, I play chess, billiards and darts — sports that [require] mind work. I’m always reading — the Bible, books and learning English words.”
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) has credited the addition of rest between his patented intense workouts for helping to maximize his physical performance in the ring, and both his trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning coach Justin Fortune insist they’ve seen no slippage in the quality of power punches Pacquiao has delivered in training camp.
His knockout slump that dated to a 12th-round stoppage of four-division champion Miguel Cotto in late 2009 ended in July when he knocked down Lucas Matthysse three times en route to a seventh-round stoppage.
“My secret of this camp is I’m throwing strong punches,” Pacquiao said.
How is that possible?
“Just discipline. I keep on working out,” Pacquiao said. “Age is just a number … it depends on how you prepare and discipline yourself. Sometimes at that age, you become lazy and tired, but I’m addicted to exercise. Even without a fight scheduled, I’m doing basketball almost every day, like four hours.”
Broner has beef, mostly with Bernstein
In an edgy display throughout the news conference, Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) took exception to the only question asked him by Showtime analyst Al Bernstein.
After ring announcer and emcee Jimmy Lennon Jr. introduced Bernstein as “the respected voice of boxing,” Bernstein said he was “delighted and honored” to ask the fighters questions. That soon changed.
“Adrien, you mentioned to some of the press you see this fight as turning the page and a win would mean so much to you. Explain a little bit about how it is turning the page?” Bernstein asked.
“I don’t [talk] with you, bro. You’ve been talking so much [stuff] about me on Twitter, bro,” Broner replied.
“Me?” asked Bernstein, who later struggled to identify what Twitter post Broner was referring to.
“Yes, you … . I’m just being real, bro. I already feel you’re against me,” Broner said.
“I’m not against anybody,” Bernstein answered.
Afterward, Bernstein told Showtime All-Access, “The attention is supposed to be on the two fighters, so, for me, to be perfectly candid, it feels unfortunate because I don’t ever want the focus on me when we’re doing something about boxers.