While Philippine President Roderigo Duterte seems to have plunged into an existentialist hole asking anyone for proof of God, the country’s most globally recognized citizen, the famed baker-turned-superstar boxer (and senator), Manny Pacquiao, has arrived in Kuala Lumpur for his fight this Sunday.
Pacquiao, an eight-division champ, faces the reigning World Boxing Association title holder, Lucas Matthyse at Axiata Arena.
Arriving via direct flight from Gen. Santos City, Philippines, where he had been training in the lead-up to the fight, Pacquiao made his way to KL’s Le Meridien hotel last night, and was met by Filipino fans and media. He told the throng of waiting reporters that he was ready.
Thanking his own MP Promotions team, he added that his training camp had gone “great,” with quite a lot of outdoor training contributing to a substantial suntan.
Having broken ties with his longtime promoter, Top Rank, MP Promotions is leading this, and two other title fights, for the first time. However, Top Rank will still be handling his U.S. distribution.
Pacquiao is also venturing out on his own in terms of parting ways with his long-time trainer Freddie Roach. The former professional boxer, and now Hall of Fame trainer, has reportedly not spoken to Pacquiao since the fighter’s unanimous decision loss to Jeff Horn last July.
He has replaced Roach with his childhood friend, and assistant trainer, “Buboy” Fernandez. The former trainer is alleged to have found out the change of players via media reports.
Meanwhile to slightly less fanfare, Pacquiao’s adversary, Matthysse also arrived in KL.
Speaking to reporters, he has said he feels “relaxed and ready,” and already over any jet lag.
He added that he is “100% confident” that he will come out victorious.
Malaysia’s last major international boxing event was 43 years ago, when “The Greastest,” Muhammad Ali, fought Joe Bugner.