An exhibition fight is supposed to be almost harmless.
But it doesn’t appear that Pacquiao is treating his 11 December date with Korean mix-martial arts practitioner DK Yoo as a money heist.
What Pacquiao gets from that event is worth the pain and punishment he’s been subjected to the past few weeks.
Holed out in General Santos City, Pacquiao brought back the same guys who attend to his training sessions while getting ready for a world title fight.
Lead trainer Buboy Fernandez has been absorbing most of the damage, no thanks to the furious fists of the eight-division legend.
“Power?” “He’s still got it,” Fernandez said answering his own question during a Q&A over the weekend at the Pacman Gym in General Santos City.
How about dedication and focus?
Fernandez said his longtime friend remains passionate about the sport.
“We are supposed to be training for an exhibition but what we have been doing lately is close to what what we are doing during a real training camp,” Fernandez said in the company of Jonathan Peñalosa, Roger Fernandez and Nonoy Neri during the daily strenuous gym visits.
And just like what happens at the Wild Card Being Club in Hollywood, Pacquiao brings his A-Game every time he turns up for training.
“My hands are aching. My whole body’s aching, too,” Fernandez said as he takes the brunt of Pacquiao’s thudding punches during the mitts sessions.
Instead of doing light exercises, Pacquiao, who turns 44 on 17 December, is even doing plyometrics.
Pacquiao announced his retirement after losing to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021.
In the months that followed, Pacquiao said he wasn’t missing boxing at all as he stayed relieved with spending most of time travelling with his wife Jinkee.
But things have started to change.
Even after his afternoon training session at the gym and morning track run, he would still play basketball in the evening as though what he did earlier wasn’t enough.
Is he trying to gauge himself for a possible return to boxing?
Well, his trainers won’t say whether their boss is coming out of retirement.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao and his party are leaving for the Korean capital on 4 December.
Yoo better watch out.