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Pacquiao ups his training regimen ahead of Marquez showdown

Weighing in at a rock solid 144 pounds, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is not exactly someone who's out of shape. Thus, one would think that he doesn't have to put in too many hours at the gym in preparation for his next bout.

But as the amount of time, dedication and commitment Pacquiao has put into his fourth contest with Juan Manuel Marquez indicates, the Filipino native doesn't want to leave anything to chance this time around.

Preparation began in September
On December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao will meet Marquez in what many believe will be the last fight between the international boxers. Pac-Man has put a tremendous amount of work in at the gym. In anticipation of the bout, he began his training regimen especially early, starting on September 19, meeting with trainer Buboy Fernandez at the General Santos City Sports Complex in his native Philippines.

Though the Fighting Pride of the Philippines is known for his work-ethic, the early start to his routine may stem from several recent contests that suggested to some that Pacquiao may be starting to feel the effects of age, turning 34 on December 17. The last time he met Marquez was in November 2011, and even though the Fighting Congressman was a heavy favorite, the bout was ultimately decided by the judges, all of whom said Pacquiao was the winner. In fact, in each of the contests, the ring judges were the ultimate determinants of who won.

In Pacquiao's most recent match, which took place June 9 at the MGM Grand versus Timothy Bradley, Pac-Man was on the wrong side of a decision. Even though most ring observers thought Pacquiao had the upperhand, two of the three judges thought differently, as Bradley was declared the winner by split decision. After a thorough review by five judges hired by the World Boxing Organization, however, the ruling was ultimately overturned and Pacquiao was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

Though the reversal gave Pacquiao his 54th win, it ultimately left many people with bad taste in their mouths, including Pac-Man himself. The disappointment of being robbed of the chance to celebrate in the ring with his fans and friends has served as another motivator to train his absolute hardest.

Pacquiao has trained eight-straight weeks in the U.S.
After several weeks with Fernandez in the Philippines, Pacquiao has since been preparing in the U.S. under the direction of his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California.

"It was a good first day [of sparring]," Roach told an assembly of reporters back in October.

He added that the Filipino native gave him his assurance long ago that he would arrive at his gym in shape and raring to go.

"He told me he's been running and [playing basketball and volleyball]," said Roach. "He is ahead of schedule, per se. He's in pretty good shape."

Speed is key
The 52-year-old legendary trainer said that the biggest thing he wants Pacquiao to focus on headed into the December 8 contest is speed and agility. As such, he's had him work on the speed bag, double-end bag and skipping rope as frequently as possible.

"Speed is his asset," said Roach. "I don't want him standing in the pocket too long because [Marquez]is a slick, precise counterpuncher. If you're in there too long, you are playing his game."

With just days remaining before the pay-per-view boxing match airs, Pacquiao vows to earn the respect of his detractors and encourage his supporters by scoring a decisive victory – hopefully one that will be left out of the judges' hands.

For a limited time, first-time customers of Xoom will be able to watch the pay-per-view contest in standard definition without cost to them (taxes may be extra). To take advantage of this exciting offer, send your first Xoom money transfer to Mexico or the Philippines between November 26 and December 8, 2012.

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