GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has started the conditioning workout for his January title defense.

On Wednesday evening, Pacquiao played basketball for about an hour and 20 minutes before doing six different sets of abdominal exercises at 20 counts per set.

“I am excited to train early. I’d like to duplicate what I did during my last fight,” Pacquiao said.

On Thursday evening, Pacquiao played basketball for almost two hours followed by more intense abdominal exercises.

Pacquiao was in high spirits and never showed signs of fatigue during the entire duration of the workout.

However, the world’s eight-division boxing champ was seen grimacing in pain while doing the abdominal exercises.

“It’s always like that whenever I start training. I have to bear with the agonizing pain while doing the abs workout. As always, I wanna train hard to be in tip-top shape come fight time,” Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao proved he’s still an elite fighter when he wrested the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight diadem from Argentinian slugger Lucas Matthysse via a seventh round knockout during their title showdown last July 15 in Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The boxing event, dubbed as “Fight of Champions,” was historic as it was the first ever championship match witnessed by two heads of states – Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Pacquiao started his conditioning workout early for the Matthysse fight and the result was resounding.

The MP Promotions of world eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has teamed up with the US-based Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), a leading production outfit owned by renowned boxing manager Al Haymon, to stage a blockbuster fight in the second week of January 2019.

Target venue is Las Vegas, Nevada.

The most likely opponent is Adrien Broner, a former world champion in four weight classes.

Broner once held titles in the WBO junior lightweight division from 2011 to 2012, the WBC lightweight class from 2012 to 2013, the WBA welterweight category in 2013 and the WBA light welterweight level from 2015 to 2016.

Most of the big names in Welterweight division – Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia – just to mention a few, are fighting under PBC.

Pacquiao said “Expect more partnerships between MP Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions in the future as we try to bring back the glory days of boxing,” Pacquiao declared.

MP Promotions and PBC vowed to help bring and promote in the United States promising, if not the best, boxers from the Philippines and other parts of Asia.

Pacquiao bared that his focus at this stage is merely on conditioning. Gym workout will start in the second week of November.

“I started doing just a light workout to boost my stamina, speed and power. Training at the boxing gym will begin in the second week of November after the press tour,” Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao had accepted a speaking engagement with Oxford Union, Oxford University’s prestigious debating society.

From Oxford, a city in southeast England 51 miles from London, Pacquiao will fly to New York City, kick off point for the press tour of his January 2019 title defense.

From there, the next stop will be Los Angeles. Team Pacquiao will fly back to Manila tentatively on November 9.