Monday, September 12, 2011

Floyd Mayweather: As Real As It Gets

We’re less than a week away from the biggest fight of 2011. Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather makes his triumphant return against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, roughly 16 months since his last dominating performance; a lopsided 12-round decision victory against Shane Mosley. The best fighter in the world is back, and generally seems happy to be back. “My thought on life is, I don’t worry about what no one says, because at the end of the day I have to be happy,” a more introspective Floyd reflected during this weekend’s third episode of HBO’s hit reality series “24/7: Mayweather/Ortiz.” Floyd’s contentment in that particular scene was in stark contrast to the beginning of the episode, a combative Mayweather angry at the portrayal of Victor Ortiz and his story of triumph in the face of adversity. Adversity that Floyd too, has experienced. “I got some shit on my mind. Yeah, I got some shit on my mind. I’m tired of hearing about that motherfuckin storyline!” Floyd spoke of the hardships he faced growing up, those many hardships shaping his upbringing. “They make it seem like I just woke up and I’m just a multimillionaire. My father been in prison, my mother left, my mother been on drugs, and my father been a drug dealer. I been through it all. We lived seven deep in one bedroom—but I don’t talk about that on the show.” That could be why Floyd Mayweather is often misunderstood. He doesn’t adhere to, and play into what mainstream America wants him to be. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t have to apologize to anyone, or put off a sob story for anyone. Floyd is real, and he speaks in self-belief without resorting to the tired cliches of religion and fanfare as his only motivation. Sure, those things can contribute to a fighter’s motivation, but in the ring…all you have is yourself. In a sport so completely unforgiving as boxing, is it that unreasonable that its best fighter is one who lives inside and outside of the ring with the same attitude that is perceived as selfish? “My fans come first. Well, I don’t want to say they come first because I come first; self preservation, it’s the law of the land, you know? I must put myself first, but my fans play a major part. You got people that pay to see you win, you have people that pay to see you lose. They both are fans, because they both are paying.” ______________________________________________________________________ “We have long observed that every neurosis has the result, and therefore probably the purpose, of forcing the patient out of real life, of alienating him from actuality.”-Sigmund Freud We now go back to reality, figuratively as an idea, and literally as a subject as it relates to “24/7: Mayweather/Ortiz.” What episode-three told us, was that reality is setting in. The fight looms closer. Is all what we see real? If so, is this also so the same reality that the fighters are living in? Victor Ortiz chose to offer a dose of cold reality with his words. “Floyd thinks he’s gonna walk in the park,” said Ortiz. “It’s going to be a very, very ugly, bloody walk for him.” It may be that Victor Ortiz is the one who has lost his grip on reality. Seeing Floyd train in his open workout that was live on Ustream last week, Floyd hardly appeared to be a fighter Victor Ortiz can bloody and beat down. Floyd looks sharp. Sharp as ever in fact; his long layoff potentially helping him as he fights into his mid-30’s. There may be no rest for wicked, but after rested…Floyd performs wicked. For Ortiz, the long training camp and big-time promotion is appearing to wear on the young pugilist. It was Ortiz rather, who appeared to be slowing down in camp, even requesting a day off against the wishes of his trainer Danny Garcia. Then again, what is real? What isn’t? Other aspects of episode-three heightened the paradox of what is and isn’t real. The soldiers overseas that Floyd skyped with, the children at the Boys and Girls Club Ortiz visited contrasting images of Floyd’s luxury cars and the charter fishing boat Ortiz and camp were on. A guest appearance by Ray J complimented the same idea…in an era of overproduced pop stars, we see a pop star actually singing and performing. If only for a few bars, it was real. In an era of titles and championships that may or may not merit any real meaning, Mayweather/Ortiz is for the WBC’s version of the Welterweight Championship. Floyd’s acronym may be better suited: “I am the WBC—world’s best champion. World’s best champion.” As September 17 draws near, our idea reality now yields itself to actual reality. Floyd Mayweather retains the same confidence he has shown throughout his entire career, and that is unchanged. “I’m going to be the last man standing. Still here, still going strong.” Has success forced Floyd Mayweather out of reality to the point of alienation? That sure seems to be the case with most boxing fans. But when Floyd Mayweather enters the ring to maintain said successes next Saturday—he’ll do it with or without care of public perception. It’ll be real. And whether fight fans want to admit it or not, Floyd Mayweather is as real as it gets.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Uncle Roger says the intrigue in Pacquiao-Mayweather will lead to big PPV sales

I have ran across a lot of interesting characters in the sport of boxing during my two years in Las Vegas, but very few have been as outspoken or entertaining as former two-time champion and trainer Roger Mayweather. At the moment Roger is deep into training camp with his nephew Floyd as they prepare for the challenge of Victor Ortiz on September 17th. The undefeated Mayweather will look to grab the WBC welterweight championship from Ortiz inside of the MGM Grand and for Roger, this is simply business as usual. Not too long ago I crossed paths with Roger and decided to get his take on how well he expects the Mayweather-Ortiz ‘Star Power’ Pay-per-view to sell and also got his thoughts on the November 12th Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy showdown, also on Pay-per-view, and how well he thought that card would draw. Roger has often been critical of Pacquiao, a potential opponent for Floyd in the future, but feels that his third tussle with Marquez will do big numbers because of the intrigue in a fight with Mayweather. “I think people are going to buy it because they both are fighting on Pay-per-view and everybody wants to see a fight between the two,” Roger told me candidly. “If they are fighting on Pay-per-view, they are both going to have outstanding sales. I don’t know who is going to draw the most, but it’s going to be pretty much a sellout by the pay-per-view buyers.” Pacquiao and Marquez engaged in two memorable battles in May of 2004, a contest that ended in a split-draw, and March of 2008, an altercation that Pacquiao walked away from the winner via split-decision. Roger can’t help but seen another hotly-contested fiasco the third time around. “They fought two close fights the first time and I believe the fight will be close the third time. I can’t see him stopping Marquez. I can’t see nothing but another classic fight between the two and I don’t believe Marquez will get stopped,” Roger continued. Mayweather’s May 2010 victory over Shane Mosley generated an estimated 1.4 million sales and I questioned Roger if he felt the Ortiz fight could surpass those numbers. “It could be,” said Roger. “Because people still want to see a Pacquiao fight and this is the kind of fight here that is going to draw them to a Pacquiao fight because Floyd is fighting Victor Ortiz and Pacquiao is fighting right after him. People are going to talk more and more and more about Pacquiao and Floyd after these fights happen.” No surprise that Roger has always held true to his belief that Floyd is the biggest attraction in the sport, but he admits that part of the interest is from people who want to see him fail. “He always got people who want to see him lose. People want to see Pacquiao lose too. But Pacquiao has already lost, Floyd has never lost. But the point is, the fans’ fight is between Pacquiao and Floyd. That’s what’s going to draw the fans. People keep asking about ‘When is Floyd going to fight Pacquiao?’. They’re going to see.” Short and sweet remarks from Uncle Roger and for a man who has had some outlandish takes in the past, perhaps it was best this time around.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mayweather:”This fight is not going the distance… Take the test.”

Technology is king,” exclaimed Big Steve:” I watched the whole Mayweather media work out yesterday at the Net CafĂ© on Colorado Boulevard.” With only eleven days in advance of Floyd Money Mayweather’s long anticipated return to the ring against young and strong champion, Vicious Victor Ortiz, undefeated super star hosted a media work out at his boxing gym in the middle of Chinatown, Las Vegas. Please check out some exclussive photos from Las Vegas by Paul Hernandez “ This is the most dangerous fight he ‘s ever been in,” said Golden Boy’s CEO, Richard Schaefer about Mayweather challenging Ortiz for WBC welterweight crown on September 17th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas:” This fight is going to be televised in 170 countries. You have the Superbowl of boxing. What’s the secret behind that, his personality. There are a lot of people that can’t wait to see him loose and you have a large group of people that respect and admire his skills.” Ever the gracious host and the entertainer, Floyd Mayweather said that he is tired of listening about Ortiz’s tough upbringing and his mother was a whore and his daddy went to prison and when he was coming up seven of them had to stay in one room, but he doesn’t want to talk about it, he wants to entertain fans. On September 17th Floyd is going to share a center stage with Victor Ortiz “He brings power and he is ten years younger than I am,” said Floyd during an interview at his gym earlier today:” I think I have a lot of experience and dedication to my team.” Not known for his knock out power, Floyd blamed his opponents like Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez for trying to survive, which prevented Mayweather from finishing those fights early. “Now, Ricky Hatton,” continued Mayweather, 34:” He came to fight, so he got knocked out.” “I think this is the best preparation he’s had up to this day,” said Floyd’s confidant Leonard Ellerby, who is also in charge of Mayweather Promotions:” I know what’s going to happen; Floyd is going to stand in the center of the ring. Floyd is coming to fight and hopefully Victor Ortiz is coming to fight.” Confident, young champion, Victor Ortiz promised to end Floyd’s undefeated rein. “Victor is looking for a knock out. I am looking for a knock out,” said Mayweather:” This fight is not going the distance.” Floyd Mayweather thanked his fans for their support and promised to give away ten tickets to the fight via his twitter. This time he didn’t even want to discuss Manny Pacquiao. “I don’t want to talk about him,” exclaimed Mayweather:” I want my country behind me. USADA, take the test.”

Thirty Thousand Mexicans can't be wrong showing public love for Manny Pacquiao

Some of those windbags and layabouts who "serve" the American people in Washington like to prattle on and on about "reaching across the aisle" seeking viable compromises with the opposing party. From what I saw and heard today, the Congressman from Sarangani named Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao could teach Democrats, Republicans and maybe even staunch Tea Party types how to effectively work with those with a different perspective. Pacman, you see, had most of the guesstimated 30,000 Mexcian fight fans--young and old, male and female--who combined for a massive wall of people across and around historic Revolution Square eating out of his Filipino hands. Fresh from a morning visit to the Mexican Congress, where he was hailed and mobbed by fellow legislators, Pacquiao said just the right thing in front of his Nov. 12 "Chapter Three" PPV TV fight opponent Juan Manuel Marquez and all his countrymen. Pacquiao did not avoid a reference to his old unofficial nickname as "the Mexican Assassin" (earned by beating legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera and others and including his points victory and draw against Juan Ma). Instead, he handled it diplomatically. Resplendent in a gray suit, blue shirt, red tie and wearing a flashy diamond in his left ear, Pacquiao said in Spanish, "I didn't want to fight another Mexican boxer, it just happened and I am just and only doing my job." Pacman laughed and the crowd inside a tent where a post-rally press conference was held did as well. Later, in the semi-privacy of the third floor lounge at the swanky St. Regis Hotel, just before a helicopter took the Pinoy Idol and his entrourage to Azteca TV network studios so he could sing a song for the company which has the Mexican broadcast rights to the big fight, Pacquiao said he was overhwelmed by the positive reception he got here. "I am very surprised and very happy about this reception," Pacquiao said as the four city (Manila, New York and Beverly Hills came first) media tour was winding down. An enthusiastic but exhausted Bob Arum said the big turnout here gave the promotion huge momentum. He even told Pacquiao that he's getting recieved on foreign visits like Muhammad Ali did. "It's like Muhammad Ali for Manny now," Arum said. "It's the same thing I saw happen when li left America. "I mean, we expected 8,000 people or so. We could have gotten 3,000 but we got 30,000. "It's like when we took Ali to Ireland, Malaysia, to Indonesia and to the Philippines. I remember once we brought Ali here to Mexico, when he wasn't fighting, and we almost had a riot. I think this fight will do huge numbers on pay per view." It reminded me of when I stood with Don King in the parking lot of Estadio Azteca as "El Gran Campeon" Julio Cesar Chavez prepped for a free public workout. Many thousands of people came from all over this massive metropolis to see their greatest sports hero and legend. Suddenly, a helicopter came out of the sky, armed police and security forces jumped to combat readiness and the then president of Mexico emerged. He had come, the president explained, to check on Chavez's vaunted left hook. If you recall, Chavez then drew boxing alltime biggest crowd, 136,000 people to the stadium to see him pummel gamester Greg Haugen. I spoke to Hall Of Famer Barrera, now a manager-promoted now celebrating his first world champion (WBO 105 pound champ Moises Fuentes, a Chilango from this city) about how wildly Pacquiao was recieved. "Yes," Barrera said, "I was surprised. I was very surprised at how the Mexican people treated Manny but he is very charismatic and very humble and they like that." WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, extremely happy to have Pacman as one of its reigning and defending beltholders, reached way back for a comparison. "For me, I see Pacquiao as being as charismatic as Sugar Ray Robinson," the Puerto Rican attorney said. "I think Manny wins people over when they see him fighting and beating such tough guys, such good punchers, as Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Those two guys hit so hard, Manny took some hard shots from both and yet he beat them both." Top Rank's Tijuana-based collaborator Fernando Beltran said he had a crew of 300 people setting up the event. Beltran handles Marquez. "We had all 300 working to set up the stage, the boxing ring, the confetti and the music and dancing girls, all of that," Beltran said. "It was so much worth it. I was glad because Pacquiao and his team were such great hosts to us in the Phillipines so we wanted to do the same for them." Another Mexican ring legend and Hall Of Famer, the brilliant Rubin Olivares, was also on hand for the event. "In my heart, I want Juan Ma to win this fight but, in my head, I will go with Pacman. Pacman has the punching power and Marquez does not." (Thanks to old friend, longtime Reuters reporter and British expatriate James Blears, now based in this capital city for 20 years, for passing on the Olivares quote.) On this afternoon, in the Mexican sunshine, the winner was boxing. The greatest boxing country in history--past, present and future--gave a proper tribute to the world's pound for pound best fighter. Sympatico, that's what the Mexican public has become when it comes to Pacquiao, sympatico.


Superstar Manny Pacquiao waves to the reported 30,000 plus fans during his public press conference in Mexico City Thursday during the world tour to announce the third world Welterweight title mega-fight of the Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy against three-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Marquez Boxing, Tecate and MGM Grand, Pacquiao vs Marquez III will take place, Saturday, Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and be produced and distributed by HBO Pay Per View.

Pacquiao expected to silence Marquez

BOXING king of the ring Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao is expected to silence his old archrival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico with a decisive win, according to his renowned trainer Freddie Roach. Roach declared at the Los Angeles stop of the media tour of third Pacquiao-Marquez fight scheduled for November 12 that he wants his prized Filipino boxer to knock out Marquez to finally stop talk that the Mexican was robbed in their two previous encounters. “This fight is more personal for Manny,” he said. “When Marquez came to the Philippines with those T-shirts … it was a slap in the face to Manny. He will get his payback,” Roach added. The renowned trainer said that Pacquiao took offense with that Marquez antic shortly after the Mexican boxer lost his World Boxing Council lightweight title in 2008 to the Filipino boxing king. “Manny let [Antonio] Margarito and [Shane] Mosley off the hook. In this fight, that’s not going to happen,” said Roach, who has trained Pacquiao since he started fighting in the United States 10 years ago. Pacquiao will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title (147 pounds) against Marquez, a unified world lightweight champ, who is going up in weight for the title fight at an agreed weight of 144 pounds. Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions, Pacquiao’s promoter, shared Roach’s observation about the prospect of seeing a more aggressive Pacquiao in the big-money fight to be held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Settling the score Arum observed that Pacquiao usually waits until the last minute to start his eight weeks of training. Pacquiao, 32, indicated on Wednesday that he had been unhappy with Marquez’ gesture. ”Everybody knows Marquez has been talking too much,” he said at the Los Angeles stop of their international promotional tour at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “If my opponent is no good, I will be no good in the ring. You know what I mean? My opponent is not a good boy…..What I think about is, ‘How can I shut [his] mouth?’”, Pacquiao added. In their first fight in 2004 at featherweight, Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round but Marquez came back to salvage a draw. Four years later, Pacquiao won the junior lightweight title by split decision — the victory swayed by a left hook to the chin in the third that sent Marquez to the canvas. At the post-fight press conference in 2008, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’ trainer, complained lengthily about what he thought was a bum decision, prompting Arum to grab a microphone and unloading epithets at the trainer. But what seemed to get the ire of the kind-hearted Pacquiao was Marquez confronting him during a boxing card in the Philippines demanding a quick rematch. Marquez wore a T-shirt reading “We were robbed.” Now a first-term congressman in Sarangani province, Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 by knockouts) has been observed to take it easy against opponents in recent fights. He took it easy in the final rounds against badly beaten foe Margarito last year. He also failed to put away Mosley in a lopsided fight in May this year, PacMan’s third consecutive unanimous decision after several consecutive knockout victories. The 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) said that he is going for a knockout of his own to counter Pacquiao’s speed and explosive power. ”I know I will see the best Manny Pacquiao, but I’m ready,” the Mexican said, adding that he would not allow the judges to decide the outcome of the fight this time around.

Pacquiao Nice Guy no more

They’ve been telling the public that they’re friends and there’s nothing personal between them. But there’s a feeling of revulsion whenever Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are within spitting distance of each other as evidenced by their actions in Manila and New York and here on Tuesday during the dizzying four-city press tour promoting their Nov. 12 trilogy. The last few times he has fought, Pacquiao has been very friendly with his foes to the extent that he has been oftentimes criticized for being too nice to them. Pacquiao horsed around with Ricky Hatton during a darts exhibition match in Manchester, posed for pictures with Miguel Cotto’s kids in Puerto Rico, burst into laughter during a staredown with Joshua Clottey in Dallas and smiled a lot and shook hands frequently with Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. But with Marquez, the feeling is not all too the same and the sentiment is that the lid will blow over when they let loose their furious fists at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in two months time. One could easily count the times when Pacquiao and Marquez shook hands and during their third face-off at the Beverly Hills Hotel, they only got to shake hands once and they did it without even looking each other in the eye. “They never did (break into laughter),” acknowledged trainer Freddie Roach. Pacquiao looked stern and didn’t break a smile when he was requested by the photographers for the customary staredown, unlike during the buildup to the Clottey and Mosley bouts when it took only a fraction of a second before he erupted in laughter. In the Philippines over the weekend, Marquez regaled the media, saying that while he remains bitter over the result of their first two fights, he has grown to respect the man many regard as worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. From what they have exhibited the last couple of days, Marquez and Pacquiao have been frugal in showering each other with praises and it remains to be seen whether Marquez will revert back to being a diplomat when the tour makes its fourth and last stop in Mexico City on Thursday. The last time Pacquiao acted unreceptive was against the brash Erik Morales and that was five years ago. That feeling of hatred is back again, said Pacquiao lawyer Franklin Gacal, who has been told many times by the pound-for-pound king about his animosity towards Marquez. “Galit siya kay Marquez,” said Gacal on board a private plane that took Team Pacquiao to Toluca, Mexico, late Wednesday night. “Nanggigigil siya.”

Manny Pacquiao – This time it’s personal

“Any news from Pacman Marquez promotional tour?” inquired Big Steve while assaulting a heavy bag at the Y in Glendale. Global tour to promote the final chapter of a historic trilogy between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez found its way to the City of Angeles where media only press conference was held at the opulent Beverly Hills Hotel earlier today. Top pound for pound pugilist, Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight title against his long time rival, undisputed lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez. The historic battle is set to take place at the Mecca of boxing, MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be televised live by HBO’s PPV. “It’s going to be a good fight on November 12th,”said Pacquiao from the podium:” Because this is the answer of all the doubts for the past two fights with Marquez. I improved a lot on my style and I will do my best for the happiness of the people.” I don’t know whether it is a pressure of a long promotional tour or the fact that Manny is getting tired of listening to Marquez say that he won the first two fights, but normally soft spoken and friendly, Pacquiao got a little edgy after the press conference. It seems like their third encounter is getting personal. “I can see a little dislike there,” said Pacquiao’s trusted coach, Freddie Roach:” I do feel that we will stop him in this fight and that’s why I am urging Manny not to be compassionate and when he hurts him to take him out. That will be the only way the controversy will go away. If you put it in the judge’s hands than it’s up to them.” So is it just a little dislike or is it getting really personal? “Hundred percent personal and I love that,” continued legendary coach, Freddie Roach:” I like it when it’s personal, because may be he won’t be so compassionate when he hurts him.” “Manny and Juan Manuel fought to draw the first time,” said Hall of fame promoter, Bob Arum:” And the second time by virtue of a knock down Manny won the fight by one point: can’t get closer than that. And so the world that follows boxing will see a classic, classic match on November 12th.” Congressman Manny Pacquiao wants to make sure that this classic match has a dramatic conclusion. How serious is Manny about this?“I was supposed to leave for Philippines next week on the 17th,” said other very important piece of team Pacquiao, strength and conditioning guru, Alex Ariza:” And I was just upstairs and Manny said that I will be on the flight with him tomorrow. He says I want to focus on getting bigger and stronger, because this time it’s personal. So I am assuming it’s personal.” The world wide promotional tour will end tomorrow in Mexico where thousands of fans will get to see their heroes, Juan Manuel Marquez, the host and the champion, visitor, Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao intends payback against Juan Manuel Marquez

Manny Pacquiao's road to stardom was established by power punching and a pair of compelling back-and-forth bouts against his rival from Mexico, Juan Manuel Marquez. As Pacquiao prepares for his third fight against Marquez on Nov. 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Filipino star's attention is locked on the goal to reaffirm his power reputation by quieting Marquez once and for all. "Everybody knows Marquez has been talking too much," Pacquiao said Wednesday as he and Marquez continued their international promotional tour at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "If my opponent is no good, I will be no good in the ring. You know what I mean? My opponent is not a good boy. "What I think about is, 'How can I shut the mouth?'" Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round of their 2004 featherweight title fight, but Marquez rallied to claim a draw. In 2008, Pacquiao won a super-featherweight title by split decision thanks to judge Tom Miller's 114-113 score. Marquez's trainer, Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, complained so much at the post-fight news conference after the 2008 loss that Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, grabbed a microphone and unloaded epithets at the trainer. Marquez later visited the Philippines wearing a T-shirt reading "We were robbed." Pacquiao's kindhearted nature is part of his charm. He's a congressman in the Philippines who has successfully pushed for a new hospital to be constructed in his district and often takes up charitable ventures. He showed compassion in the final rounds against badly beaten foe Antonio Margarito last year, and he also failed to put away Shane Mosley in a one-sided fight in May — Pacquiao's third consecutive unanimous decision as he improved to 53-3-2. But Pacquiao became boxing's most popular star by scoring 10 knockouts and retiring Oscar De La Hoya in a span of 16 fights between 2003 and 2009. Now, it's no more Mr. Nice Guy. "He let [Margarito and Mosley] off the hook. In this fight, that's not going to happen," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said of Marquez. The Pacquiao-Marquez bout will be for the WBO welterweight title to be fought at a 144-pound catch weight. "This fight is more personal," Roach said. "Those [prior two Marquez] fights were good for boxing. It wasn't our fault the judges voted for us. But when Marquez came to the Philippines with those T-shirts … it was a slap in the face to Manny. He will get his payback." Arum was seen shaking hands with and briefly embracing Beristain on Wednesday, but the promoter notes Pacquiao is less forgiving of his old foe. "Manny usually waits until the last minute to start his eight weeks of training," Arum said. "For this fight, he's already started. He's dying to win this decisively. He's a competitor, and on a competitive basis, he's tired of hearing Marquez is the puzzle he can't solve." The 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) expects to rely on his counterpunching strength to again frustrate the aggressive Pacquiao. "I will see the best Manny Pacquiao, that's what I'm waiting for," said Marquez. "Everybody knows I wanted this fight. I didn't win before because the judges were no good." Music to the ears of a seething Pacquiao.

Pacquiao/Marquez Los Angeles Press Conference

After a self made, man-fulfilling steak and egg breakfast and a 20-minute strengthening workout, I trekked, for the second time this year, to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset in Los Angeles for a Manny Pacquiao press conference. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic through most of my journey with the odometer hitting upwards of 90 plus degrees, (it would hit 109 before the day was done) I was happier than ever to reach my destination and receive a valet ticket and jump inside the plush hotel. With oodles of time before the conference even began, I found myself on a couch listening to the new Jay-Z/Kanye West album as I watched the circus begin. Some of the main players were already in plain view as Nacho Beristain held court in the lobby. Freddie Roach was flanked by HBO crews, no doubt supplying footage for Roach’s soon to be reality series set for a 2012 release, Marquez strolled by to talk to his trainer before going into hiding until the conference began, and actor and ‘Entourage’ producer Mark Wahlberg walked back and forth, hoping to make himself part of the Pac Man’s entourage, but to no avail. He evidently hasn’t heard of ‘Pacquiao Time’, as most in Pacquiao’s groups knows all too well. Manny isn’t here yet, Marky Mark. I stepped out briefly and watched as WWE wrestler ‘The Miz’ rolled up to the front. His PR person was standing next to me, and the wrestler hopped out of his chauffeured ride, walked up and asked him bluntly, “What the hell am I doing here?” His PR walked him in and said he would go over things. More on the Miz later in this story. I checked in and walked down to the ballroom area of the hotel, which was a great relief because the hotel’s ‘Rodeo’ room is small and at ground level where the days heat was, and it was just as hot in Hollywood as it is in my humble surroundings of the Inland Empire. I stood and chatted with Maxboxing’s dynamic duo of Steve Kim and Gabriel Montoya while we waited to enter the grand ballroom, which was a lovely, wide spread room with a rose tipped chandelier. Smart media typed run towards the tables first to get premium seating, then to the food spread. I secured my location with a pretty much 50-yard line view of the dais then approached the food. Once again, I was faced with numerous types of spread to place on my gourmet turkey burger. “Oh no, Mr. Horseradish, you’re not getting me again. Fool me once,” I said to myself as I was yet again faced in a situation where there was sinus clearing condiments on hand to fool me, like they did at the last press conference I attended in Beverly Hills for the Pacquiao/Mosley fight. (At that conference, I applied generous portion of white/yellow looking spread that immediately made my eyes water and my nose run just as promoter Bob Arum walked by my table and gave a gentlemanly head-nod as I tried diligently not to sneeze, cough, throw up or worse.) I wisely selected the most American looking, bright yellow spread I could find and proceeded to the hawk-like waitered tables, where your tea never runs dry and the hell if any opened sugar packets see the light of day on a table for more than a few seconds after opening. Now, the burgers in this semi-nice joint in the 90210 are generally the best food they have to offer. Not today. What outdid the ‘gooble-gooble’ burgers was the ‘piece de resistance’ as I told writer/friend Igor Frank, a divine mix of noodles and cheese that us small types call ‘macaroni and cheese’. I’m sure 90210 residents have a luxurious name for the side dish, but hey, they say tomato’, I say tomato. The second best item up for grabs is what I dubbed ‘the bottomless passion tea’. It’s a higher end tea, which I happen to love as a tea drinker. Top Rank head Bob Arum opened the show by announcing that the November 12 fight was a sell out, and tickets were being sold at high premiums by those websites who love to make as much as they can above the original price of the ticket. Freaking ticket vultures. The fighters were announced with a cool, pre-taped introduction using the voice of Michael Buffer, as Marquez made his way first to the podium, and the Mexican great dressed sharply, suited out in a black two piece, followed by Buffer’s intro for Pacquiao, and the Pac Man dressed in his best ‘Brett Favre’ outfit; some blue Lee’s and a white collared shirt. Did he shoot a jean commercial on Sunset before the press conference began or what? Arum then invited WWE wrestler The Miz to the front of the line, and the charismatic young gun took to the microphone and told a story that when he told his parents he was going to the press conference and Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez were going to be there, they asked him to take pictures and grab autographs. He said he himself is in the entertainment business, and his parents have never asked HIM for any memorabilia! Ouch. Aren’t your parents supposed to be your number one fans? ‘Miz man’ closed in style by giving each fighter some of his shirts with his slogan on it, and screamed into the mic, “You guys, as well as myself, are truly Awesome!” Arum would also touch on the hotly debated weight issue heading into fight night at the MGM Grand. A catch-weight of 144 was agreed to for the third installment of Pacquiao/Marquez, which pundits agree favors the bigger man in Pacquiao. “They both have to make the 144 mark. Look, Manny isn’t a middleweight. It’s not like Manny is going to make the 144 mark at the weigh-in, and weigh 160 on fight night.” On a personal note, being mere inches from both warriors during interviews, it’s hard to argue that weight is going to be an issue once the bell rings. Both of these guys stand tiny at a mere five-feet-nothing and a walking around weight similar to that of a junior high student. Then it was trainer time. As announced, both fighters were flanked by their trainers, and recent Hall of Fame inductee Beristain was up first. Nacho thanked the press for their attendance, then proceeded to talk faster than his interpreter for the day, Zanfer Promotions own Fernando Beltran. Nacho stated that the first two Pac/Marquez battles will never be forgotten, and the third edition will be the best of the trilogy. The bell rang, and each corner was given seconds to rest on the stool before the next round started and fellow HOF trainer Freddie Roach took to the stand to offer his best verbal swings. Roach was his casual self in jeans and a shirt and relayed that training will begin in the Philippines and then move to Hollywood for the finishing touches. “I think I have a challenge in Nacho Beristain, and I have a great student in Manny Pacquiao.” Roach’s close-line (Miz type reference) regarding the fight was simply, “don’t miss it.” Another rest period ensued, and it was then time for fighter speeches. Marquez went first, (which is odd being that he is a counter puncher by nature). Arum had introduced Marquez the greatest counter puncher in the game, and touched lightly on when ‘Dinamita’ fought Floyd Mayweather in September 2009. Marques put on a lackluster effort, suffering a knockdown and lopsided decision loss. Arum had his opinions on that though. “Of course he looked bad against Mayweather. Mayweather is a defensive fighter. Maybe a genius,” was Arum’s choice of words when pronouncing that the Pac/Marquez fight will be a better showing simply by Marquez facing a more offensive minded opponent in Pacquiao. “Good morning, good afternoon, good night. I don’t know what time it is!,” Marquez told the media. The four-city, three country press tour was already making its impression on the fighter as they already hit stops in the Philippines, followed by New York before hitting the B.H. Hotel in Los Angeles. Good thing for Marquez is the tour makes its last stop tomorrow in his native Mexico. No word on if Pacquiao plans anymore singing as he did during the New York version of the tour. Come on, just a few notes from “Sometimes When We Touch!” Marquez said he has been working hard on his speed and strength in training camp, and closed by dedicating the fight to his father-in-law, who passed away a few months ago. Another rest period ensued, and then it was the Congressman’s time. Arum made numerous over and above introductions of Manny as not only the pound for pound best boxer but the “greatest athlete in the world” and a dozen other monikers for his fighter, and all of them were hard to argue against. Simply put, at this present time, Pacquiao is an international superstar. Look it up, it’s in the Geneva Conventions. (Will Ferrell reference) The Pac Man thanked all the sponsors and his supporters in a gingerly manner while telling the press that he is training hard and knows Marquez is as well. Pacquiao himself is not remiss of the fact that his two previous efforts in the ring against Marquez are looked at and debated almost as much as a potential dream match between himself and Mayweather are. “This (fight) is the answer of all the doubts of the last two fights against Marquez,” said Pacquiao. The circus ensued with the fighter ‘nose to nose’ ‘I don’t smile and you don’t smile’ stare downs, followed by one on one interviews and a closing to yet another great It was almost too bad that I went from eating gourmet burgers and bottomless passion tea in a plush Beverly Hills hotel, only to tip the valet a buck, (hey, I’m sure that the Ferrari that pulled out in front of me tipped a solid 20-bill or above) and get on the freeway in 100+ degree heat to make my journey home. Oh well. Such is life on the press beat. Thank the Lord above for air conditioning and sports talk radio.


Watching both Pacquiao and Marquez today at the third leg of the promotional press conference held at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel to hype their third fight scheduled on November 12th at the MGM Grand Arena allowed me to capture a few poignant photos. As a photographer I do not mind too much what is being said at the podium. That is the job of the “writers”. I primarily focus on people hoping to capture telling photos related to the event. That is exactly what I got today. Juan Manuel Marquez must not be a seasoned traveler. Jet lag caught up with him. In fact, he himself said that they traveled thousands of miles in so short a time that he really does not know what time it is. Therefore, when he addressed the press he begun by saying- “Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening” to cover all his bases. It was a tad funny but it worked. As he sat listening to the proceedings, Marquez appeared bored and tired. His demeanor showed it too. He was yawning and was listless. It would not be too surprising to assume that Pacquiao is as tired as the poor JuanMa. But he had a way to hide it somehow. At least that is true today. I never caught him yawning or looking bored although I took more photos of him during the entire proceedings that I did of Marquez. Pacquiao kept alert by interacting with the press corps. He blinked an eye or smiled at them. And he kept a quiet private conversation with Freddie Roach who sat next to him. That kept him busy and occupied until it was time for him to stand up on the podium to speak. Oh, he said nothing new that I have not heard before but at least he appeared very alert and focused. JuanMa in the other hand almost kept to himself. He seldom turned to his trainer Nacho Beristein to speak to him unlike Pacquiao who always had Roach close for a chit chat. Perhaps, if Marquez did he would not have been so bored of the proceedings. Marquez almost appeared to be alone in his deep thoughts. I wonder, was he really that tired or did reality finally sink in about his coming fight which I believe he can never win? I like to think it’s the former because if it’s the latter, then we could all be in for a boring fight on November 12th.

Manny Pacquiao Gives Floyd Mayweather an Ultimatum

During his recent press conference, Manny Pacquiao presented a loud and clear ultimatum to his undefeated counterpart Floyd Mayweather Jr. – you have one year. While appearing at a press event to publicize his upcoming November bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao stopped to address some of the more prevailing issues in boxing. Namely, what the odds were that he and Mayweather would actually get around to participating in a much-hyped super fight. "I want to be an executive in 2013," Pacquiao replied, when asked about his future prospects. "It’s hard to be an executive and do boxing." Currently, Pacquiao serves as a congressman for his native Philippines and, as a result, has plenty of free time to spare. If, however, the widely regarded best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport opts to pursue “executive office” in 2013, that will quickly change. Whereas congressman duties entail less pressing matters to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis, serving as an “executive” in the Philippines is akin to being a governor or mayor in America. All of which pretty much explains why Pacquiao has been so reflective and open about his athletic tenure coming to a close some time very soon. In a series of interviews over the past few months, the Filipino icon has alluded to having a limited window to accomplish everything he wants to accomplish in his sport of choice. Along the same lines, he has also been very honest about how he views his place in the grand scheme of boxing lore, and how he doesn’t feel like he actually needs a match versus Mayweather to cement his legacy. Currently, Pacquiao is preparing for a November 12 showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez – the third and final part to their once-epic rivalry. The first time the pair met they fought to a widely-disputed draw. The second time, Pacquiao won despite numerous boxing pundits scoring the fight in Marquez’s favor. This time, though, there is little doubt about who will emerge victorious, with Pacquiao consistently dominating his competition over the last two years while Marquez has been on a steady decline. Not even recent developments like Pacquiao’s fatigue and the role it will have in this bout could boost the odds in Marquez’s favor, it appears. At this point, everyone is already looking ahead to what the twilight tour of Pacquiao’s career will look like. He’ll put an exclamation mark on his rivalry with Marquez with a win in November but, then what? Will it be Mayweather? Khan? A wild card that nobody sees coming? Only time will tell.