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Monday, November 17, 2008
Pacquiao prepped for hardest fight yet

By Manny Pacquiao
Special to ESPN.com

Manny Pacquiao steps up in weight to take on Oscar De La Hoya at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 6 (HBO PPV), a battle between boxing's pound-for-pound best and the sport's biggest star. Between now and then, Pacquiao will be checking in with ESPN.com's Kieran Mulvaney, providing a glimpse into life in training camp as he prepares for the big fight.

Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao, right, considers it a dream come true to be fighting Oscar De La Hoya.
There are less than three weeks remaining now until my big fight with Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas on Dec. 6, and things are going very well. I'm very focused on the fight, and I've had no distractions. I still need to do a little fine-tuning of a few things, of course, but I'm 100 percent ready to go.

I've been really happy with my sparring. By the end of last week, I had sparred about 95 rounds so far. I've been sparring with Rashad Holloway, Marvin Cordova and Amir Khan. Amir has recently started working with my trainer Freddie Roach and I know there is a lot of interest in him. I think he's a good fighter; he's very quick and very fast. I'll think he'll be a world champion one day.

As always, I'm training with Freddie at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. I've been in L.A. since the end of September, so this is one of the longest camps I've ever had. It's also the hardest training camp I've ever had. But then, this isn't only the biggest event of my career. I believe it is going to be the hardest fight, with the fact that it is at a higher weight and also in particular with fighting a legend like Oscar. He has so much experience and a tremendous ability to adapt to his opponent over the course of a fight. He's very smart in the ring.

To be honest, it all still seems like a dream that I could be fighting De La Hoya, that I could be fighting the most popular fighter of my generation. If you can't get excited about fighting Oscar De La Hoya -- well, then you shouldn't be fighting. But I'm a fighter; it's my job, it's what I do full time. And in the ring on Dec. 6, I'm going to do the job I am paid to do and I'm going to do it well.

I'll be checking in several times between now and the fight, keeping everyone updated on life in training camp and on my preparations. I'm really proud and really excited to be able to do these updates. I know it's a great way for me to be able to interact with my fans, and I'm looking forward to keeping in touch over the next couple of weeks.