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Friday, November 28, 2008
Dec. 6 will be business as usual for Pacquiao

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.

There is only a week to go now before the biggest fight of my career, against Oscar De La Hoya, and I am raring to go and ready to step into the ring.

I was really inspired by watching Ricky Hatton win his fight against Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday. It was a good fight and I would like to fight Ricky Hatton. After my fight with Oscar, I will go back down to 140, which is Hatton's weight, so maybe that fight can happen. But for now I am focused on De La Hoya, and I don't want to do anything to disturb my concentration for that fight.

People have talked a lot about the fact that De La Hoya is bigger than me, that I began my career at 106 pounds, that he has fought at 160. But I was very young, 16 years old, when I started my professional career, and I have been continuing to grow ever since. I'm not that small. I'm 149, 150 right now and I have some time to come down to 147.

We haven't really changed our training very much even though this is a higher weight. We've done some things to build up muscle and not cut weight, but mostly we have been concentrating on things like head movement and strategy and style for dealing with Oscar.

It has been a long training camp, and it has been difficult because my wife is pregnant with our fourth child, a girl. The baby is due in January. It makes it difficult because I cannot see my wife much when I am training even though she is here in Los Angeles. But it also inspires me to train hard. But I do not like for my wife to watch me fight live. She will be in the hotel on Dec. 6 but not in the arena.

The final couple of weeks before fight night are difficult. I have to complete my physical preparations for the fight. I also have to prepare myself mentally. I also have to do a lot of things to help publicize the fight.

Last week, I had a media day at the Wild Card Gym where I work out with trainer Freddie Roach. It was actually a lot of fun, because it meant that the gym was full of people. It really gives the place a lot of energy and I really enjoy that.

First, I sat down with television reporters. ESPN was there, all the local channels were there. I sat down and answered their questions, one station at a time, and then I sat down with all the print reporters and talked to them for about an hour.

Then I worked out and they all watched me train. Some fighters don't like to do a full training session in front of the cameras. They're afraid they're going to give away some secrets. Not me. I don't change anything for media day, although sometimes Freddie wants me to. I did my whole workout, showing everybody what I do. There are no secrets about what I do.

I have done a lot of media for this fight, more than with any fight I've ever done. This is the best and most exposure I've ever had. I admit that sometimes, all these interviews and all this media work become tiring. But I always try to keep in mind that the media are the ones who promote the fight, who make my name bigger, and who make the fight bigger.

There has been a lot of talk in the media between Oscar and Freddie, that this is personal between them, but I don't talk about that. I just focus on my training. All I know is that I would never blame my trainer for a loss.

People tell me Oscar has said things like he is going to knock me out, and that he sees this fight as personal. But I don't make predictions. And it is never personal. It is never personal for me. I am doing my job. And I'm going to do it well, and I'm going to win the fight.