Cage fan now a boxing icon | Inquirer Sports
In Huddle

Cage fan now a boxing icon

/ 12:05 AM May 03, 2015

A VIDEO  showing the PBA’s Living Legend Sonny Jaworski signing an autograph for a  fan in Las Vegas must have reminded local media of scenes when boxing icon Manny Pacquiao was not yet too popular and idolized by legions of fans around the world.

Some 15 years ago, Pacquiao was a guest along with then PBA superstars Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez during a sports media forum at Kamayan Restaurant. The two star cagers occupied the presidential table while Pacquiao, who came ahead of them, sat alone and unnoticed at one of the tables.

Pacquiao came with some  boxing people but when he saw the two cagers arrive, he told them they could leave ahead because he was staying behind to watch the rest of  the proceedings.

Jaworski and Fernandez were  the Pacman’s idols as basketball, before boxing, was his first love.

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Pacquiao just sat there watching quietly. Nobody bothered him—not the scribes nor the photographers. Nobody seemed interested in him. Everyone hovered around the two cage superstars.

About a decade and a half  hence, the tables have been turned. Pacquiao has become the idol and just about everyone has turned into a boxing fan. Even the Big J.

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Notes from Las Vegas:

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A few  minutes   before yesterday’s  weigh-in, hundreds were still trying to get inside the jampacked venue where  about 11,000 fans paid $10 (about P400) each  just to get a glimpse of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

A very familiar face  in  the crowd was  former world  boxing  champ  Mike Tyson  who was shown on video elbowing a fan  who was bothering him.

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Larry Merchant, the legendary American boxing analyst, labeled Pacquiao as “the greatest boxer of all time.”  However, he said he thinks Mayweather will win today’s “Battle  for Greatness.”

“I hope I’m proven wrong,” he immediately adds.

Mayweather:  “I never want to win a fight so bad  in my life!” (Referring  to today’s showdown with Pacquiao.)

Years before the “Pambansang Kamao” became more popular than NLEX cager Asi Taulava, the two already had a close working relationship. Would you  believe Pacquiao at one time was the conditioning coach of Taulava?

Like Gerry’s Grill owner Jerome Ngo,  dozens, if not hundreds, of Pinoys who  could afford it flew to Las Vegas, unsure if  they would be able to secure a ticket for  the fight today.

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Ngo said he was promised a ticket by someone close to Pacquiao weeks ago  but close to zero hour, he still  has to get hold of the tickets. He’s willing to pay for  them, but none, they say, are available  even from scalpers. He said he will most likely watch the fight on pay-per-view television inside the MGM Grand.

TAGS: Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, pacquiao vs mayweather column, Sports

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