By NICK GIONGCO
LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao’s suite, which has a separate room for him, a kitchen, a holding and dining area and a mini-bar, was buzzing with activity Thursday even as his rematch with Tim Bradley looms on the desert horizon.
After working out for the last time at the Top Rank Gym a few blocks away from The Hotel, the official residence of his team, Pacquiao staged a mini-concert at the main receiving area before dining on steamed white rice, chicken tinola, fried fish, mushroom beef, vegetables and two bottles of Fiji natural artesian water.
Pacquiao didn’t look and act as though he is about to embark on a crucial fight that would determine what’s down the road the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer.
Pacquiao belted out four songs, including a gospel tune, as a large crowd of people took pictures with him, including Sen. Ralph Recto, Bacolod City mayor Bing Leonardia and Navotas congressman Toby Tiangco.
Before heading back to his room, Pacquiao held a short chat with Recto but they didn’t disclose what they talked about and Pacquiao spent the rest of the evening reading Biblical verses as two aides gently massaged his calf, tired from all the beating caused by an eight-week training preparation that kicked off in the Philippines.
“I am ready to go,” said Pacquiao, who will attempt not only to beat the 30-year-old Bradley but exact payback following the heartbreaking spit decision he suffered when they first fought in June 2012 at the MGM Grand, the same venue where they will square off Saturday night.
Before calling it a day, Pacquiao watched an NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors on television with former PBA player and coach Rino Salazar, now living in Alaska, just a few feet away and later met with key members of his staff.
Pacquiao is expected to breeze through the official weighin scheduled Friday afternoon after which he will consume a full-sized meal and spend the rest of the day holed up in his suite.
“No problem with the weight,” said Pacquiao, who will be fighting for the 24th time on American soil after making his debut here in June 2001.
Earlier in the day, Pacquiao staged a light workout in the presence of Roach and members of his training team and was lively and cheerful during the entire proceedings.
Also present when Pacquiao worked out were Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico, who he defeated in 2009, Russian Ruslan Provodnikov and Chinese Olympic legend Zou Shiming, all trained by Freddie Roach.
They are all going to cheer for Pacquiao at ringside as the fighting congressman aims to turn back the hands of time.
“My time is not yet up,” said Pacquiao, who intends to fight in the next two years before finally announcing his retirement.