MANILA, Philippines – In his first post-retirement exhibition match, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao said he plans to train as if he were to battle in a championship prize fight.
“Definitely [I will take training seriously], because this is my comeback to the ring and I’m so excited for that,” said Pacquiao.
There’s no reason to cut corners, he added, as the Filipino sports icon prepares against Korean YouTuber DK Yoo on December 11.
“This is my passion. I have to work hard even if this is just an exhibition match,” said Pacquiao, speaking via hologram from Seoul in a press conference organized by Triller Fight Club and FITE in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13.
Pacquiao will be stepping in the ring for the first time at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) in Goyang, South Korea, since his retirement from pro boxing and failed presidential bid earlier this year.
The latest in crossover matches involving boxers and martial arts fighters, Pacquiao feels thrilled in doing it for the first time.
“Well this is my first experience to face a martial arts expert and I’m excited for that,” said Pacquiao.
“I’m also excited to go back to training like what we used to do before, and now I’m trying to prove that Manny Pacquiao is still there in boxing, [I want to] prove that during this exhibition match,” he continued.
Pacquiao also revealed he will be fighting at his usual welterweight class at 147 lbs against the much bigger Yoo, who will be at around 175 lbs, to utilize his quickness and explosive footwork.
Yoo, dubbed by fight organizers as a “modern day Bruce Lee,” is keen on using his physical advantage against the 43-year-old boxing icon.
“I just try to knock him down. I’m gonna apply my movement against Manny Pacquiao,” said Yoo.
“I’m gonna consider these factors, but I’m younger, heavier, and I have long arms. I just focus on that.”
Proceeds of the fight will be donated to victims of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and to add funds in building homeless shelters in the Philippines.