L.A. MEDIA DAY MEMORIES
By Dr. Allan Recto
17 Apr 2015
PACQUIAO: “WITH GOD, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!”
Los Angeles, CA (April 15, 2015) – It was another day in Pacquiao’s Training Camp like no other as he prepares for the upcoming contest to be held at the MGM Grand on May 2nd, billed Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. This event could shatter PPV records and could potentially become the richest fight in boxing history.
MORNING RUN AT GRIFFITH PARK
At his L.A. Mansion, Manny Pacquiao was in a good mood as he was watching the youtube video of Jimmy Kimmel (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WdyJT0hd0k) singing his Entrance Song for the fight of the century while preparing for his morning run. Manny Pacquiao seemed to be jovial, at peace with himself, and everyone that surrounds him.
At Griffith Park, as Pacquiao alighted from a black Escalade SUV, a hummingbird hovered above him, sometimes circling like a drone. It was surreal to see an eager bird about 3 feet away from him, yet whenever Pacquiao reaches out to touch it, the hummingbird flies away (higher), only to return to the same spot whenever the Filipino Congressman Pacquiao stopped. In this writer’s opinion, it was a good sign; maybe even a lucky one, or it could be nothing, but worth mentioning as it was something that’s difficult to explain. There was a small crowd who watched Pacquiao with excitement and awe. Some people were taking pictures from a distance and videos thru their smartphones. Pacquiao did not seem to mind. He is used to this. However, no one is allowed near him as the Team secures Pacquiao for the fight of the century.
Pacquiao did not waste any precious moments, continued his stretching exercises then started his morning run to include the steep climb to the top in Griffith Park. This writer requested to hitch a ride in his the SUV, whose driver, L.A. based Team Pacquiao Edward Lura granted. Lura said, “The hummingbird smelled the oranges inside the car.” He was notified by security to park in a reserved spot, adjacent to where Pacquiao would do his routine exercises that morning.
On the way up the hill, we saw Pacquiao leading the run with his brother Bobby, some boxers including Marven Mabait (19-3-2, 13 KO), other runners, plus PacMan the dog, trailing behind the eight-division world champion.
This writer, upon getting off the parked SUV near the observatory tower, stationed himself in the jogging trail midway leading to the Hollywood sign and hoping to document the moment when Pacquiao’s group would be in that vicinity in more than half an hour.
It did not take that long; Manny Pacquiao and company passed by, and in a few seconds, were gone. I tried to chase Pacquiao to take a picture but could not overtake or catch up so I decided to forego the futile exercise. For his age, Pacquiao is in fine shape as an elite athlete. His endurance and stamina are truly remarkable. Panting moderately, this writer stopped and looked behind when he observed Pacquiao’s brother Bobby approaching and trying to catch up with the group. This writer instead of Manny’s took a frontal view picture of Bobby running.
Later that morning, Justin Fortune, Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, presided over the plyometrics (exercise) workouts of Manny Pacquiao.
WORKOUT AT THE WILD CARD BOXING CLUB
At noon, this writer drove to Vine Street near downtown to the famed sweatshop of Freddie Roach. It was the final Media Open Workout Day where throngs of TV crews including Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN from the Philippines, several journalists, boxing scribes like Roy Luarca of Philippine Daily Inquirer, photographers Peter Dumaual and Jhay Otamis of the philboxing.com website, etc. and from different media outlets patiently waited to catch a glimpse of Pacquiao, ahead of the most anticipated fight in his boxing career. The Wild Card gym felt hot comparable to an oven or sauna. It was made worse because it was filled to capacity and standing room only.
L-R: Team Pacquiao including Buboy Fernandez, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Coach Justine Fortune watches as Pacquiao moves around the ring. (Photo credit/ Dr. Allan Recto)
Manny arrived reasonably delayed by a few minutes (as expected). Bob Arum and Freddie Roach granted interviews while awaiting the people champ Manny Pacquiao.
Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum described the undefeated, five-division world champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr. when told by a reporter that Floyd seemed confident, Arum quipped, "Confident is not the right word, I would say Hopeful."
Another writer asked Arum if he believes Floyd when Money says he knows all of Manny's secrets leading up to this fight. Bob Arum countered in jest, "Manny knows a lot of Floyd's secrets, maybe, in the course of the fight, Manny will reveal those secrets."
It's difficult to compare fights, the level of excitement, the anticipation, and Bob Arum thinks that the magnitude of Ali vs. Frazier (1st fight) in 1971 was analogous when he commented, "I really believe at that time, the whole country (USA) was up in arms about the fight, but we didn't have social media. You can't even compare the great fights that took place in the 80's, with Leonard, Haggler, Hearns and Duran. The were big, major, monster events but they're different. They didn't have PPV or social media back then."
At the Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club, a banner says it all, "It Ain't Easy!" The mega fight of the century between Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao is 17 days away.
"I think his speed will be too much for Mayweather," Freddie Roach confidently states with a smile, “Manny will (surely) catch him!”
Filipino media is interviewing Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s long-time trainer. (Photo credit/ Dr. Allan Recto)
Pacquiao uses events like this to spread the word of God and when asked why he seems so confident of getting the victory in such a huge undertaking being the underdog, Manny humbly replies to this writer, "With God, Nothing is Impossible!"
History will be made.
Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera, now with TV Azteca, being interviewed by Philippine media as well. (Photo credit/ Dr. Allan Recto)
It was later known that some Filipino media men got kicked out of the Mayweather’s Gym in Vegas with their wristbands detached and were accused of spying for Team Pacquiao during Floyd’s open media workout the day before. Marco Antonio Barrera, whom Pacquiao beat in 2003 to catapult himself (Manny) to superstardom, was present and told this writer of his (bold) prediction that Manny will win this one, albeit by close decision. This writer appreciates publicists Ricardo Jimenez and Fred Sternburg for their assistance throughout this Media Day Event in L.A. The author would like to thank Jim Ong of Team Pacquiao for extending help during this L.A. trip.
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