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National pride is a big motivator for Manny Pacquiao

The boxing superstar, who is a congressman in the Philippines, doesn't want to let his countrymen down when he meets Shane Mosley in Las Vegas on May 7.

April 20, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Manny Pacquiao trains during a media workout at Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles on Wednesday as he prepares for his May 7 fight against Shane Mosley.
Manny Pacquiao trains during a media workout at Wild Card Boxing Club in… (Danny Moloshok / Reuters )

The masses worshipping at his feet have never been more numerous. The media attention on his every step has never been so exhaustive.

Manny Pacquiao also stands as a significant favorite to defeat Pomona's Shane Mosley in their May 7 welterweight fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Despite the overload of fuel for overconfidence, Pacquiao is in the midst of what he and those close to him say is his best training camp in years.

"My first concern is train hard and give a good show," the Filipino star said Wednesday at his media-day workout at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. "My opponent … he fights also. He's big. He throws a power punch. I'm not going to underestimate my opponent."

Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) is being urged by his decorated trainer Freddie Roach to become the first man to ever knock out the 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) on the heels of the former three-division world champion's most recent lopsided loss by decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a sluggish draw in September versus Sergio Mora.

More important, says Roach, is Pacquiao's unquenched motivation to bring pride to his countrymen. Pacquiao, a congressman in the Philippines, met earlier this year with President Obama.

"He wants to keep improving the Philippines," Roach said. "As much as he's done already, he feels if he loses, he lets his countrymen down. He doesn't want to do that."

Pacquiao's veteran promoter Bob Arum agrees the rule is for fighters to lose their edge as fame, mega paychecks and swooning hangers-on clamor.

"Everything Manny does is what has worked for him before," Arum said. "They made a black-and-white film years ago with Kirk Douglas, 'The Champion,' where the guy becomes a champion and becomes a [jerk] and loses focus. You have to be a special person to not let it affect you.

"Manny," Arum said, "is that special person."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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