Manny Pacquiao may have the biggest shoulders in all of sports. Every day he trains, and every time he steps into the ring, the 5-foot-7 boxer carries the weight of a nation. Pacquiao and Nike teamed up for the Inner Strength series, and right here, you can read the full story, check out the video feature, and more.
In addition to the expectations of more than 100 million Filipinos, Pacquiao is perpetually surrounded by fans, training partners, business partners, media and entrepreneurs looking for something from him. So many people want a moment of his precious time that it has to be parceled out daily between training sessions, sparring, meals and precious sleep.
When you add up the mountain of potential distractions he faces in any given day, focus becomes the most important element of Pacquiao’s training and preparation. Never has this been truer than in the lead up to his much-anticipated fight in Las Vegas on May 2.
“I love to have people around me while I’m training. But you have to prepare your mind, train your mind,” said Pacquiao, the only boxer to have held world championship titles in eight different weight divisions. “When you focus, you don’t have to worry about, ‘Oh, what am I gonna do? Maybe I’m not ready,’ or anything like that. But you have peace of mind and you’re ready to fight.”
In the area around the gym where he trains in Los Angeles, Pacquiao has become a quasi spectator sport. Pacquiao’s relentless training regimen may not be solitary, but he has trained his mind to shut out the distractions surrounding him while running, side-stepping stadium steps, doing core workouts and heavy ball throws.
“When I was 16 years old, I worked hard. I trained, trained, trained, trained [the] whole day. When you’re getting older, you have to balance…balance your body. You have to give time for your body to rest.”
Pacquiao began his boxing career as an amateur in Manila when he was 14, turning pro before the age of 17.
Now 36, Pacquiao is training for the most publicized fight of his career. Over the past two decades he’s learned a lot about himself and about the best ways to prepare his mind and body.
“You have to survive,” said Pacquiao. “You have to go through the hard work before you get the crown.”