LOS ANGELES - Manny Pacquiao said Wednesday his "killer instinct" and will to win is as strong as ever, rejecting suggestions he is past his prime for the May 2 blockbuster bout with Floyd Mayweather.
The Filipino was speaking in Hollywood at the final news conference he will give before he heads to Las Vegas for the eagerly anticipated welterweight unification showdown with the unbeaten Mayweather, set to be the most lucrative in boxing history.
Boxing fans say the two men are getting it on five years too late, with Pacquiao now 36 and Mayweather two years older, and both showing tentative signs of slowing down in recent fights.
Pacquiao, who has also faced accusations that he has neglected his boxing and concentrated too much on his political career, hit back, saying: "I feel very motivated.
"The inspiration and determination is back and the killer instinct is there. I love it. I like it." Pacquiao described the upcoming fight as one of the biggest ever and said that more people are interested in it now because it took years of on-off negotiations to put together.
"It is a good thing that it is happening now rather than five years ago because more people are informed," he said, denying that the outcome of the Las Vegas fight would define his glittering career.
"My entire career defines my legacy. Everything I have done in boxing," he said.
"I have had some great, great accomplishments and achievements in my career. I won titles in eight different weight divisions." Pacquiao spoke to a small group of reporters in the basement of the Wild Card gym in Hollywood.
He then went upstairs to the main gym for a workout in front of a standing-room only crowd of photographers and television cameras.