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Salavarria swears Pacquiao still ‘young’

The two fighters have quite a few things in common.

Nick Giongco

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Erbito Salavarria believes that Manny Pacquiao is still in terrific shape. / Photograph by NICK GIONGCO for the Daily Tribune

For two-time world flyweight champion Erbito Salavarria, age is just a number.

Salavarria, who recently turned 75, feels he doesn’t see anything wrong with Manny Pacquiao pursuing another shot at a world title.

“What’s good about him is he really takes good care of himself,” Salavarria told Daily Tribune in Filipino during a visit at his Quezon City residence that also houses a boxing gym used mainly these days for fitness and recreation.

Reminded that Pacquiao is already 42, Salavarria insists the Filipino eight-division champion makes it a point to keep his weight in check.

“You don’t see him get fat unlike other boxers who gain a lot of weight when they are not training for a fight,” Salavarria said.

Pacquiao, though inactive since July 2019, recently made headlines when he declared that big news is forthcoming in connection with his next fight.

As proof that he means business, Pacquiao has been seen doing roadwork and several rounds of shadowboxing around Forbes Park in Makati.

“In the history of boxing, there have been a few boxers who still fought well into their 40s. Even in the last few years, there have been boxers who still fought,” added Salavarria, who was World Boxing Council (WBC) champion from 1970-71 and World Boxing Association titlist from 1975-76.

The two fighters have quite a few things in common.

Like the elegant-punching Salavarria, Pacquiao was also once the WBC flyweight king who had won the crown by knocking out a Thai rival in Thailand.

Salavarria knocked out Chartchai Chionoi in two rounds in Bangkok on 7 December 1970. Almost exactly on the very same day that Salavarria stunned Chionoi with the King of Thailand at ringside, Pacquiao knocked out Chatchai Sasakul in eight rounds on 4 December 1998 to also become a WBC titleholder.

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