A whirlwind promotional tourBy Percy D. Della
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SACRAMENTO, California—Like kids at summer camp, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez can’t seem to stand being away from home.
Representative Pacquiao would rather spend his time in Congress, or with his constituents in Sarangani province when he’s not fighting or training for a fight.
Juan Manuel would sure opt to be in Mexico City instead to enjoy the company of family and friends and the beat of boxing gloves—including his own—pounding against leather bags at his favorite Romanza Gym.
But you won’t see discomfort, only wide smiles at the Quirino Grandstand today when these two boxing icons begin a whirlwind transcontinental tour trumpeting Pacquiao-Marquez III on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
After the Luneta show, both boxers will live out of their suitcases as they jet to New York City, then to Beverly Hills, California, and on to Mexico City—all in a span of a week—during a dizzying trip charted by promoter Bob Arum.
The plan is to exploit Pacman’s vast star power and Marquez’s mystique for a hoped-for pay-per-view blockbuster in the fall when boxing’s pound-for-pound king stakes his WBO welterweight title against the Mexican ring legend.
Drumbeaters of the PPV bout on HBO think it bears all the earmarks to pass the 1.4 million buys for Manny’s boring and genial bout with the graying Shane Mosley. But Pacquiao is facing another old veteran in Marquez in a fight that boxing gurus say should have occurred three years ago.
This is reason enough for detractors to come out of the woodwork and say that after two questionable fights, Pacquiao will actually defeat “El Dinamita” this time around since the Mexican warrior’s a bit slower and will enter the ring with fewer ring arsenal.
Manny won a controversial, 12-round split decision over Juan Manuel in 2008 and drew with him after 12 rounds in 2004.
With its timing, the Pacquiao-Marquez tour appears to have been hatched with one thing in mind: draw attention away from Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s tussle with Victor Ortiz, also on HBO pay-per-view and at the MGM Grand on Sept. 17.
Although a matchup between the ring’s biggest superstars remains elusive, Manny and his promoters would want to wrest the title of PPV king from Floyd Jr.
But Mayweather Jr.’s camp is bent on holding on to the bragging rights and actually drew first blood in the hype department last Saturday night with the first episode of HBO’s 24/7 Mayweather-Ortiz.
And it’s not by accident that the second episode of the award-winning reality show that focuses on the lives of Floyd and Ortiz as they train for their fight is scheduled on Sunday (in Manila), a day after Pacquiao and Marquez’s Luneta stop.
Mayweather steps into the ring a year and four months after his overwhelming win over Mosley. This time, the 34-year-old with a spotless 41-0 record goes up against Ortiz, the WBC welterweight champ, who could be a problem or a preview of Pacquiao.
Ortiz, 10 years younger than Mayweather Jr., is a tireless puncher who throws flurries from a southpaw stance.
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