Pacquiao at ease as fight nears
By Dino Maragay Updated Thursday November 20, 2014 - 6:39pm

Manny Pacquiao hits the speed bag during a workout on Thursday at The Venetian Macao. He fights American Chris Algieri on Sunday. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com

MACAU - With his fight against Chris Algieri just days away, Manny Pacquiao was a picture of calmness, not letting the pressure of delivering a badly wanted knockout win get into him as he wrapped up preparations in this bustling gambling city.

Pacquiao on Wednesday held one final open workout, and throngs of reporters from all over the world had a field day as the WBO welterweight champion gamely showed off his wares.

The Filipino icon shadowboxed, worked the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach, hit the speed bag, and skipped rope in a workout that lasted more than two hours. Along the way, he happily obliged and struck poses for reporters, photographers and everyone else inside the gym at the Cotai Arena here at The Venetian Macao.

"Muy rapido! (Very fast!)" he screamed at his longtime cutman Miguel Diaz while skipping. He also goofed around with some members of his entourage, including Top Rank publicist Fred Sternburg, who kept hurling jokes at him.

"Everyone gets a free photo (opportunity)! Manny will stay for four to five hours," he jokingly told the crowd, a comment that elicited laughter from Pacquiao.

In the same gym, undercard fighters Antonio Demarco and local favorite Zhou Shiming held their own workouts. But it was pretty obvious who the center of attention was.

At one point, Pacquiao turned to the mirror to see himself shadowbox, only to notice bodies instead of glass.

"Hey guys, mirror!" he shouted, and his entourage quickly motioned the crowd not to block the big boss's view.

Pacquiao stakes his WBO welterweight title against Algieri in a fight that again serves as an opportunity for him to counter claims of declining skills and lack of hunger. He hasn't knocked out anyone since 2009 when he stopped Miguel Cotto, and almost everyone - especially Roach - wants that slump to end.

While Pacquiao himself understands the importance of a knockout win, he remained non-committal to pulling off one against Algieri. Instead, he insisted he still has what it takes to excite.

"I have that fire in my eyes. I'm excited," he told mediamen after he was done with the rope.

But is a knockout really coming?

"Whatever happens, it will be a good fight that everyone will enjoy. [It's going to be] A fantastic performance. Awesome," Pacquiao said, adding he'll use caution against the taller - and possibly hungrier - Algieri.

"We'll stick to our plan. I don't want to get careless, but the fire is still there. The aggressiveness is still there," he further said.

Philstar.com asked Roach, who has Pacquiao right where he wants him to be conditioning-wise, whether he is sticking to his prediction that Algieri won't last a round.

"Yes!" was the bespectacled trainer's curt reply before walking away.

Whether Pacquiao lives up to Roach's expectations is a big question.

But a worry-free Pacquiao is something to worry about for any opponent.

 ***

Editor's note: Philstar.com's special coverage of the Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri fight is made possible by Cebu Pacific Air, why every Juan flies.

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