LAS VEGAS – “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom, or the strong boast of their strength, or the rich boast of their riches.”
“But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
This, quoting Jeremiah 9:23-24, was how WBA regular welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao answered co-titlist Keith Thurman’s bad-mouthing during the final press conference heading to their unification fight ON Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I just always smile no matter what Keith says,” Pacquiao retorted when asked by the moderator on his reaction to Thurman’s statement to the effect that he will be punching the Senator in the face and he’s (Pacquiao) going to feel it.
“It’s easy to say things, but it’s not easy to do it in the ring. I’ve been in this sport longer than Keith Thurman, so my experience will be the difference,” the fighting Philippine Senator said.
To the “One Time” prediction that he will put Pacquiao to sleep because he’s got power, boxing’s only eight-division belt owner had this to say: “That’s Thurman’s style to talk a lot. Like I said, it gives me more motivation to focus and it helped me a lot leading up to this fight.”
“I’m not predicting a knockout,” he said. “But we did our best in the training camp . I’m focused and motivated, so we’ll see. I’ll do my best to make the fans happy.”
The father of five to wife, former Sarangani Vice Gov. Jinkee, relayed that he and his team did their best in training.
Pacquiao was referring to chief trainer Buboy Fernandez, consultant Freddie Roach, conditioning coach Justin Fortune and assistant trainers Marvin Somodio, Nonoy Neri and Roger “Haplas” Fernandez.
“I am physically ready, as well as spiritually ready. Expect a good fight so tune-in Saturday. The way Thurman spoke today, I hope he will live up to it on Saturday,” he declared.
“My feeling right now is happiness and excitement to prove that at age 40, I can still show my best,” he vowed.
The ‘Fighter of the Decade’ said “it’s going to be an exciting fight and once-in-a-lifetime fight. There is going to be a lot of action in the ring.”
Like in the two-city media tour to sell the encounter, Pacquiao, again, taught his rival what it is to be humble.
“I respect my opponent because we both believe we can give a good fight to the fans. That’s our first concern. The fans and the enjoyment of the fans,” he told his audience.
All throughout the boring presser, all Thurman talked about was boast … boast … boast. “I’m looking forward to the fight. I’m looking forward for a tko the final moment when my hand is raised (in victory).”
I’m a winner in life, and to bet on myself to win in the opening rounds, it makes me do what I said earlier, which is swing … swing … swing,” Thurman proclaimed.(By EDDIE G. ALINEA)