MANILA, NOVEMBER 6, 2008 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao may be four inches shorter than Oscar dela Hoya but the Filipino champion is making sure that there won’t be a huge difference when it comes to body strength.

“You will see a big difference in my body as compared to when I was fighting at 135 pounds,” Pacquiao said the other day when he updated the media of developments in his training.

“I’ve grown bigger but I feel that I’m not getting slower,” he said, owing his new-found build and strength as well to plyometrics, a special kind of exercise he’s been doing under conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

“My muscles have grown bigger because of these daily exercises,” he said, adding that a different set of exercise is being used Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and another set for the other days. (Sunday is his rest day).

Pacquiao said that with just a month left before the “Dream Match” he’s been enjoying his meals, considering that he’s jumping from 135 pounds (his fighting weight last June) to 147 pounds.

“It’s the same thing when it comes to eating my favorite Filipino food (like tinolang manok, ampalaya, chicken adobo and bulalo). We have to maintain it so I don’t drop in weight fast,” he added.

He said sparring with boxers as tall as six feet and as heavy as 160 pounds haven’t been that difficult because again he’s grown over the last few weeks in preparation for the big fight.

“Kaya sa kutob ko kaya ko na din ang suntok ni Dela Hoya (That’s why I feel that I can handle Dela Hoya’s punches, too),” said Pacquiao, the underdog for the first time in years.

In one recent photograph Pacquiao was shown holding on to weights (one probably no heavier than five pounds) as he exercised. Previously he’s never held on to weights while training.

Plyometrics is a type of training “designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system for the purpose of improving performance in a specific sport.”

Plyometric movements use the strength and elasticity of muscles “to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal.”

Pacquiao said he’s been working hard for more than a month now, and he hoped that Dela Hoya is doing the same, amid reports that the Golden Boy has had some low points in training.

“Ang message ko sa kanya sana mag-ensayo siya mabuti para maganda ang laban (My message to him is I hope he trains well so it will be a good fight),” he said.

Meanwhile, Bob Arum of Top Rank said Pacquiao continued to draw support from his fellow boxers, and even some of the top Mexican fighters of this era.

Arum told that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Antonio Margarito, Erik Morales and Jorge Arce are for Pacquiao and in fact would want “to walk Pacquiao into the ring.”

“Simply put, Arum said ‘the Mexicans love Pacquiao’ because he was like Mexican fighters, a warrior, adding that ‘Pacquiao is more popular in Mexico than De La Hoya,’’ wrote.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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