Following two consecutive loses in 2012, welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao has won two fights in a row, a lopsided decision victory against Brandon Rios in Macau, China and a dominating win in 12 rounds against Timothy Bradley in April.
Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) returns to the ring to face junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao in Macau (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).
In his own words, Pacquiao discusses how he's preparing for the fight and what fans can expect to see.
Your trainer Freddie Roach has been quoted lately saying Manny could fight at 140 or even 135 for the right fight. What are your thoughts and what does the future hold for you in boxing?
"The reason we are fighting this fight at 144 pounds is because I wanted to see how I performed at a lower weight. If I do well, I could easily fight at 140 for my next fight. 140 is the weight I walk around at when I'm not training for a fight. So that is no issue and even 135 would be easy for me to make.
"The real question is how do I feel and how do I perform when I return to those lower weighs?
"I could be faster than when I fought at welterweight and (junior middleweight) and if my power remains the same, I may be able to score more knockouts at lower weights. I weighed 138 when I knocked out Ricky Hatton, 142 when I stopped Oscar De La Hoya and 144 when I scored a TKO of Miguel Cotto. Many people consider those fights some of my best, so why not go back down if that is where the bigger and better fights are going to be fought?
"But now I am the WBO welterweight champion and my only focus is to defend that title. I didn't realize how much it meant to me until I won it back in my rematch against Timothy Bradley. I love being a world champion and i have poured my heart and soul into this training camp. My sparring mates have been the biggest and best I have ever had in training . I am leaving nothing to chance when I step into the ring against Chris Algieri on November 22.
"I want to win this fight so badly and I want to win it in a way that will have boxing fans on their feet screaming and cheering. I owe that to my fans and I owe that to boxing. Today is my last day of training camp. I will spar four rounds, work the bags, shake out and then fly to Macau for Fight Week. I have been at weight for since late October. I am ready to battle!"
What kind of goals do you still have for your career at age 35?
“As I have said before, boxing is my passion and public service is my calling. As I approach my title defense against Chris Algieri I have found that my passion for boxing has increased. I do not feel old. I feel great and I find I am able to train as hard as I always have and I enjoy it. More importantly, I still enjoy boxing -- a lot.
“As long as my skills and my passion remain strong I want to continue my boxing career. When I retire, I want it to be on my terms. I do not want to spend my retirement regretting that I walked away from boxing before I was ready. I do not want to come back and fight after I retire.
“My goals are to finish as a world champion, winning my remaining fights. Since the last Marquez fight I have approached every training camp and every opponent with 110% dedication. I would like to keep challenging myself in the opponents I will face in the future.
“I have not set a date or determined an age when I will retire. As long as I can keep fighting at the level I expect from myself I will continue my boxing career.
“I do have one specific goal and that is to give the boxing fans the fight they have always asked for. I want that fight too. I believe good faith negotiations could produce that fight. But it is impossible to negotiate when you are the only one sitting at the table. Two fighters who want to fight each other have never been kept from fighting each other.”
Pacquiao and China, is that helping boxing popularity? Why fighting in China?
"Asia is a fertile market for boxing. The sport has been very popular in the Philippines, Japan and Southeast Asia for a long time, but China, with its billions in population, has long been an untapped source for potential boxing fans.
"Boxing owes a great debt to Zou Shiming, China's two-time Olympic gold medalist, for opening his homeland to boxing by fighting professionally at The Venetian Macao these past two years. Shiming has sold out the Cotai Arena every time he has fought there while allowing fighters like me to share his cards and display our talents to his enormous fan base -- both in-person and throughout the country on television. There's even a new televised boxing show which was developed from the popularity of The Venetian Macao shows.
"I love fighting in the United States. I have fought many fights in Las Vegas but when I fought Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium it added a whole new dynamic to the event. Not only did fans from the Dallas-Fort Worth area get to experience boxing at a world championship level, but millions of fans tuned in to see those two fights because they took place at Cowboys Stadium. It was exhilarating.
"The same is true fighting in Macao, China. Fans from all over the world are watching my fights at The Venetian Macao not just because of the fight itself but because they want to see a live event from China. And the billions in China now have the opportunity to watch world championship boxing on their own national and regional networks. That is a lot of exposure for fighters and for sponsors of boxing events held there.
"It is also tapping into a new segment of athletes which can only improve the sport and its popularity. Every country loves to root for their own athletes and by having more Chinese fighters in the professional ranks more Chinese fans will begin following our sport and making it a bigger international attraction.
"I love fighting in Las Vegas but when I fight in Macao I feel like I am playing a home game. Macao is only a 90-minute flight from the Philippines so many of my countrymen are able to attend where the expense of traveling to the U.S. may have been too much for them. Fans from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe filled the Cotai Arena the last time I fought there, and that was a great experience. And the Chinese fans were so enthusiastic. It was a wonderful experience to fight for them. The biggest difference between fighting in Las Vegas and fighting in Macao is that virtually all the fans are in their seats before the first bout begins. They really love their boxing in Macao."
How difficult is it to prepare for a fighter who has an awkward style like Algieri, someone with MMA experience and not too much video to study from?
"Chris Algieri poses many puzzles for me to solve. In terms of his height and reach, only Antonio Margarito surpasses him in the scope of opponents I have faced. Algieri is also the most scientific, fluid and fittest fighter I have ever opposed. All of those factors, plus he is five years younger than me, make him the most dangerous opponent of my career.
"To me, boxing is a lot like chess. You don't just move a piece and wait for your opponent to respond, you have to see the board and think 10 to 12 moves ahead and anticipate the variables your opponent may counter with. Algieri does that and he does that very well. If you look at his recent fights -- against Mike Arnaoutis, Emanuel Taylor and Ruslan Provodnikov -- each victory for him was considered an upset. Yet Algieri never considered himself an underdog, he went into each fight confident and with the right game plan and no matter what happened in the ring, he was disciplined enough to stay with that game plan. And it worked. He outfought them and out-thought them.
"Algieri's reach and height will require me to work on closing the distance with him in the ring and I will need my speed more than ever to be able to score damaging blows to him while avoiding his own counters. I watched him fight Provodnikov and he fought the perfect fight against him. But I do not intend to fight Algieri's fight. I intend on fighting my fight and more importantly, making him fight my fight. This will be a battle of wills as much as it will be a battle of blows. There will be a lot more going on in the ring than fans will realize, and it will be fast and it will be exciting.
"There are no shortcuts to victory. My success begins and ends in training camp. You win a fight by winning each round and it is the same in training camp. I give my all each and every day -- running in the morning, working out in gym and praying in my home -- and focus on being the best I can be physically, mentally and spiritually. That is how I am preparing to fight Chris Algieri. I am sacrificing everything to defeat him and produce not just a convincing victory but my most impressive performance."