By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is training for July 2 showdown with WBO#2 Jeff Horn at 55,000 seat Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia with nearly 40,000 seats sold with five weeks to go and Grantlee Kieza of the Courier Mail is in Manila doing roadwork with Pacman. Kieza talked to Fightnews from Manila.
It was a stifling hot morning in Manila and I caught Manny Pacquiao cold, stunning him in the same way Brisbane’s Jeff Horn hopes to at Suncorp Stadium on July 2 in Australia’s biggest ever fight.
Pacquiao was running away from me when I lunged at him, red faced and sweating, going after the fighting senator with the same intensity I’d shown a couple of hours earlier chasing down an omelet at the hotel’s breakfast buffet.
Pacquiao’s head spun around as I loomed large over his right shoulder and his little legs clicked up another gear as he tried to get some distance from me.
I sped up close on his heels.
Grantlee Kieza tries to stay in touch as Manny Pacquiao burns through the streets.
The world welterweight champion was shocked and bewildered.
Fifteen minutes earlier we had set off along with some other journalists, cameramen and a security detail for Pacquiao’s regular 5km run past the multimillion-dollar homes on Cambridge Circle. Running with the bulls in Pamplona is dangerous, running with a raging bull in Manila, equally so.
My 55-year-old legs struggled to keep pace with his and the first STOP sign on the road was my chance to immediately comply.
But in the pursuit of a good story I kept chasing and doubled back to catch Pacquiao on his second loop of Thursday’s 2.5km circuit.
I seized my chance as he left the media pack well behind and I leapt out at him from behind some trees as he ran on with only his mate Benjamin Garcia riding a pushbike for company.
Shocked and bewildered at my apparent turn of speed and the fact I looked likely to collapse at any time, Pacquiao could only ask in broken English: “Where you come,’’ as I closed in on him.
“Shortcut,’’ I replied.
“Where short?’’ he said, nonplussed and perhaps worried that Jeff Horn could ambush him with a sneaky move of his own.
media_cameraManny Pacquiao is the centre of attention.
Pacquiao and I ran together for a few hundred metres more, Pacquiao thinking about Jeff Horn’s big right hand, and me thinking about cardiac arrest.
“Come on mate,’’ he said, a couple of times turning around to run backwards as I tried to keep pace.
Kieza returns Brisbane on Saturday