ONE of Freddie Roach’s assistant trainers expects Manny Pacquiao’s power-packed punches to rattle reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in their showdown on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Prior to this week’s news conference, the 27-year-old Vargas (27-1 win-loss record with 10 knockouts) was fully confident he could wipe out the eight-division world champion Pacquiao (58-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts).
But trainer Marvin Somodio said Pacquiao’s latest condition and fighting form had improved compared with his previous fights against American Timothy Bradley last April 9 and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year.
“I’ve never seen Manny (Pacquiao) like that,” Somodio told The Manila Times by phone on Friday prior to his departure from the Wildcard gym to Las Vegas. “The killer instinct is there. I didn’t see it before during the Bradley and Mayweather fights.”
“Vargas improves, yes. But I’m confident that if Manny (Pacquiao) lands his punches and starts hurting Vargas, I’m sure he will rattle and panic. Manny’s punches are really, really strong and his sparring partners Jose Ramirez and Rey Beltran can attest to that,” he added.
“I’m confident Manny will knock out Vargas in this fight … It was 2009 when we last saw a knockout win by Manny. It was a long, long time ago and I’m sure it’s going to happen now in this fight.”
Somodio was referring to Pacquiao’s 12th round technical knockout victory against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in November 2009 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“He is more determined now and I guess he really wants to prove something in this fight,” he said. “Vargas can run but he can’t hide from Manny,” Somodio added.
Top Rank boxing promotion chief Bob Arum said the 37-year-old Pacquiao was ready to go to war. “He is in high spirits and ready,” said Arum in a separate interview. “Manny is just resting just like Jessie. They will go to the weigh in tomorrow (Saturday in Manila).”
“Manny has no problem in making weight. He eats regularly and same with Jessie,” he added. “When I left yesterday after the press conference, he attended a prayer service. The tickets will be sold out and all indications on pay-per-view will go positively.”
It will be Pacquiao’s first time to step in the ring as an elected senator.