PHILIPPINES - Critics say he is over the hill.
He's too old and too slow.
He's lost his edge. He's distracted.
Manny Pacquiao has heard it all.
And the Filipino fighter (right) plans to respond the only way he knows how - in the ring when he takes on American brawler Brandon Rios in Macau on Nov 24 for the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight title.
The former champion is seeking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats.
Judging by his steely focus here at a training camp in his hometown of General Santos City, Pacquiao is hungry.
Wearing a t-shirt which read "The champ knows", the 34-year-old was all business the moment he got out of his black Hummer and entered his Wild Card Gym yesterday.
He briefly chatted with coach Freddie Roach before retiring into a corner to be taped up and ready for a sparring session.
His minders shared jokes, but the Pacman hardly broke into a smile throughout the two-and-a-half hour session.
"I have something to prove against Rios," he told The New Paper, afterwards.
"I want to prove I can still fight, and of course, to put my name back at the top of boxing.
"I need this fight."
The Rios bout will be the first of the year for Pacquiao.
According to the boxer, he is training like "when I was 20".
Of course, boxers always talk themselves up before a fight, it is the nature of the sport.
But those who were here earlier said he nearly knocked out his two sparring partners - Ghanaian welterweight Fredrick Lawson, 24, and 23-year-old British light middleweight, Liam Vaughan -in a session on Monday.