Despite his failure to score a knockout win in the last seven years, Manny Pacquiao is not rushing to get one against World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5 (November 6 in Manila) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao, 37, who will be flying to Las Vegas on Monday, tasted his last knockout victory against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in 2009 before posting eight wins – all by unanimous and majority decisions – in 11 fights.
“Remember my minimum weight is – I can still make 135. I can still make 135 and my natural weight is 140. When I move up into the higher weight divisions it changes my preparation – I eat a lot to make 147,” Pacquiao said in an e-mail relayed by Top Rank Promotion publicist Fred Sternberg.
Vargas (27-1 win-loss record with 10 knockouts), on the other hand, wants a knockout victory against Pacquiao (58-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts).
The 27-year-old American-Mexican is also coming off a technical knockout win against Sadam Ali in March.
But Pacquiao said there’s no reason to rush for a knockout.
“It just so happens that my opponent is tough and bigger than me. But I am still trying to do my best to get a knockout in the fight,” he said. “I am not saying what I am predicting for this fight but if the knockout comes, it will come – it is the bonus for all of your sacrifices in training.
“Where I may gain a pound of two between the weigh-in and the fight, my opponent may be a lot heavier,” Pacquiao added. “I am not saying that I cannot do that, but what I am trying to do in every fight I try to do my best.”
His long time trainer Freddie Roach, a seven-time Boxing Writers Association of America trainer of the year winner, said Pacquiao’s power-packed punches almost ripped his armor and hurt him during his training even here in Manila last week.
“He has been very aggressive in his sparring – throwing combinations and he seems to be getting back to the old Manny – really quick combinations, in and out, flurries and very hard punching,” said Roach via e-mail also relayed by the Top Rank Publicist Sternberg.
“He has been hurting me while on the mitts. My shoulder is a little messed up. Buboy’s hand and shoulders are messed up.,” he added. “We’ll hang in there but holding the mitts for Manny is not the most fun thing in the world to do – it’s hard, hard work.”
If he sustains those kind of punches, Roach believes Pacquiao could end the knockout win drought.
“He hasn’t knocked out any 147-pounders in awhile but again they are much bigger guys and they can take better shots, but I feel that with the combinations and the way he has been training he has been very close to knocking guys out in the gym and so forth,” Roach also said through Sternberg e-mail.
“I am very impressed with him in the gym workouts so far.”
Pacquiao also he would do his best in order not to disappoint the fans, saying: “My opponent is bigger than me but that doesn’t matter – I am not disappointing the fans that I have and I did my best. I work hard in the fight and in training and I have proven that to the fans.”