Manny Pacquiao, the Fighting Senator of the Philippines, has made it his goal to serve with equal dedication as both a politician and the country’s premier record-setting pro boxer. In between sessions of Congress and committee hearings, Pacquiao has taken on a variety of opponents, sometimes winning and sometimes not. But while he always looks for a victorious outcome, Manny relishes the fight most of all. That is why he is lined up to fight American Keith Thurman next month. And with the small window afforded him by the closing of Congress and the opening of a new, Pacquiao is stepping up his training with a skilled young sparring partner.
ABS-CBN News reports that Manny Pacquiao has started sparring sessions as part of his preparations against Keith Thurman on a welterweight match this coming July. At the Elorde Boxing Gym in Pasay City, the Fighting Senator sparred with Australian slugger Tim Tszyu, a legacy fighter and son of Russian champion Kostya Tszyu. He was chosen by Pacquiao’s trainers to replicate the larger and heavier presence of the younger Thurman. Australian promoter Peter Maniatis notes the appropriateness of Tim Tszyu as a practice opponent for Manny due to the similar box-and-counter style used by the American.
The young Tszyu, himself a super welterweight boxer with an undefeated 13-0 record and 10 KOs, could hardly believe his luck at sharing the ring with Pacquiao even for a spar. From their two official sparring sessions Tszyu is confident that the Filipino champion was ready to take on Thurman due to his aggressive speed, ability to punch from unexpected directions and instinct to capitalize when seeing an opponent hurting, to go for a knockout.
All this training hype also highlights Manny Pacquiao’s careful management of his time as both Senator and boxer available for fight challenges. He had timed his training period with the closing of the previous Congress following the 2019 Midterm Senatorial Elections last May, as well as the scramble of both the incoming and incumbent Senators (him among the latter) to game chairmanships of the various Senatorial committees. Pacquiao actually decided to give up his position as chair of the Senatorial Committee on Sports in favor of incoming political ally Bong Go. He retains two chairmanships in Public Works and Ethics.
The match between Pacquiao and Keith Thurman, for the latter’s WBA Super Welterweight Championship, will happen on July 20 at Manny’s usual American stomping grounds, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Nevada. The Fighting Senator has also promised to quickly wrap up his business stateside after the match, in order to return to the Philippines in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address this coming July 22.
Image courtesy of Manila Times