Manny Pacquiao: Boxing legend's 15-year body transformation is remarkable

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Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great in the boxing world, and at age 42, his incredible physique shows no signs of letting up, with him revealing how he’s in such amazing shape going into his 72nd professional fight.

Pacquiao has stated that daily basketball games are one of the key reasons behind the 42-year-old looking in just as good shape as he was in 2006 before his fight vs Erik Morales.

The legendary eight-division champion formerly played professional basketball in the Philippines as part of his training routine before stopping in 2018, however, the 5ft 5in fighter still continues to shoot around for fun.

The 42-year-old was preparing to attempt to dethrone undefeated WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr, 31, on August 21, before the champion dramatically withdrew yesterday with a torn retina.

As ever, Pacquiao linked up with Hall of Famer and long-time coach Freddie Roach ahead of their 37th fight working together. Even now, however, Roach has to plead the 42-year-old to give his ageing body its much needed rest.

That’s one of the main differences now between the Manny Pacquiao that first entered the Wildcard gym with a point to prove two decades ago, to the all-time boxing great now.

In an exclusive interview, Pacquiao told SunSport: “I feel great. I am always active between training camps, which keeps me in good shape.

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“I play basketball games daily which is great exercise. I listen to my body.

“If I feel that a day off from training will help my body recover, I will take a day off.

“And the next day, I feel good as new and am able to give everything Freddie asks of me in the gym.

“Freddie even encourages me to take more time in training. That is really the only change from when I was younger.”

Pacquiao first entered Roach’s gym in 2001, and in their first fight working together, the Pac-Man won the super bantamweight title.

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That fight made Pacquiao a sensation Stateside with his foot speed and hand speed amazing those watching the diminutive Filipino.

Twenty years on and Pac-Man is still just as dangerous and dazzling, with Roach struggling to spot the difference between the Pacquiao from 2006 and the Pacquiao now.

He said: “He’s pretty close to the same guy. His footwork is great, his hand speed and his power is very good.

“For the last two years I haven’t seen him, but he’s been sending me tapes of all his workouts and I sent back my thoughts on what he needs to work on and so forth.

“He still works out hard, his work ethic is really great and I’m getting the best sparring partners I can for Spence’s style.

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“I had to get rid of one, who just wasn’t working out, he was too much of a runner and Spence is not a runner, he’ll stand and fight.

“But one thing about Manny Pacquiao – he’ll stand and fight back.”

Rumour has it that the living legend has two fights left in his career, before bringing a close to one of the most successful and celebrated careers of all time.

Physically, Pac-Man looks like he could go for another decade, however, his retirement seems to hinge on a deal made trainer Roach, however, there’s no sign of that being called into effect anytime soon.

Roach said: “I made a deal with him ten years ago.

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“I said, ‘Manny, when you’re all done and I tell you it’s over, I want you to retire

“I said, ‘I don’t want to see you get hurt in this game’. The other day he said, ‘Freddie, am I an old man yet?’

“I said, ‘No… not yet!'”

As Pacquiao looks to wind down an illustrious career in boxing and potentially enter politics, his body looks like it’s ready for another three decades of fighting at the highest level, which is a testament to the Filipino and the team around him.

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