“It took discipline to manage my time effectively … to balance my training camp and my Senatorial duties. I feel good. Every day I was able to get in all my training. I ran every morning and did my strength and conditioning with Justin Fortune. I worked with Freddie every evening at the gym after work. There were some days where I would have to come in later if my work in the Senate demanded I stay longer. Between the two “jobs,” I was averaging 14-hour workdays. Luckily the gym was very close to the Senate so I didn’t have to deal with traffic. I had no real free time to be with friends.
“I am now well-rested. I arrived in U.S. on Saturday evening and today I feel I have recovered from my jetlag. I sparred six rounds yesterday [Tuesday with Ray Beltran]. I will spar Thursday, Saturday and Monday before driving to Las Vegas.
“We have three different plans for Jessie Vargas. My first concern is for the fans; that the people who are going to watch the fight will be happy and satisfied. I want this to be a fight for fans to remember
“I am fighting for history. I was the first sitting congressman to win a world title. For this one, it is not enough to be the first sitting senator to fight for a world title, I want to be the first senator to become world champion. For me, that would be quite an accomplishment.
“I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.
“I do not underestimate Jessie Vargas. He is a good strong champion. You cannot fight at this level and be successful by underestimating your opponent. Every opponent gets my full attention and respect. I respect Jessie and that is why I trained hard. This is the most important fight because it will determine the direction of my boxing career. I need to win convincingly.
“In boxing the fight is in the ring is for the enjoyment of the fans. In the Senate, the fight is for improving the quality of life of the Philippine citizens. Being a senator is inspiring work.
“I have spent more than 100 million [pesos] on building houses for the less fortunate [over 1,000 houses…Manny purchased the lots and built and gave away the homes and lots]
“Winning world titles in eight divisions is not that easy. I am so blessed to be a part of boxing history by winning them. That is not me boasting. I am just happy to be a part of the history of boxing.
“I enjoy politics because I do not have a hidden agenda. I serve honestly. That’s a good thing for me because I’m not ashamed to tell the truth. I’m not ashamed to rebuke someone if they are doing wrong. Government is for serving the people, not for serving oneself.”