In typical Manny Pacquiao-fashion, the Filipino superstar was swarmed Tuesday afternoon by a sea of fight fans hoping to get a glimpse of the pound-for-pound boxing king during his grand arrival to the MGM Grand, the site of his fight Saturday night against Juan Manual Marquez.
While the eight-division champ—decked out in his trademark Nike blue and red, training jacket, wrap-around sunglasses and surrounded by two dozen or so members of his entourage—was mobbed by fans holding up Pac-Man signs and chanting his name, members of the media were more concerned about his thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s recent statements than his trilogy bout against Marquez.
“What I’ve done, I’m happy with,” said the 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts), when asked if his legacy would be diminished if a fight against the undefeated Mayweather never happened.
“Whatever fight my promoter gives me I’ll take it and fight hard. We haven’t made a decision about the next opponent. After this fight, I’m just waiting for the next.”
While Pacquiao kept comments about Mayweather positive, his trainer Freddie Roach, wasn’t afraid to blurt out what many boxing fans may believe.
“I’m kind of tired of Floyd,” said Roach of Mayweather, who last week said he wanted to fight Pacquiao in May in Vegas. “Shut up and fight or not. We’ll fight him any day of the week.
“Who is he to make the rules?”
While fans’ and media members’ attention might be focused on the possibility of what would likely be the biggest and richest fight in boxing history, Pacquiao turned his comments back to Marquez—the 38-year-old Mexican (53-5-1, 39 KOs), who feels he defeated Pacquiao in both their previous meetings, despite their draw in 2004 or Pac-Man’s narrow split decision victory in their 2008 rematch.
“I took this fight not for the money but to give a great showing,” Pacquiao said. “This fight is one of the most important fights I’ve had. This fight is really important to me because he says he won the last two fights.”
That factor serves as great motivation for the elder Marquez, who made his grand arrival on Monday to much smaller fanfare than Pacquiao.
“They always tell me, you won the first two fights, you can do it again,” Marquez said. “All the fans tell me, do it for us; do it for Mexico. And that’s what I do it for. I do it for me and my family, for Mexico and for all the fans who have always supported me.”
Fighters, friends remember Frazier
Fighters and friends offered their condolences and fond memories for legendary boxer Joe Frazier, who died Monday night of liver cancer at 67.
• “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones,” said Muhammad Ali, who had three epic fights against Frazier—including when Frazier defeated him on March 8, 1971 in the bout called “The Fight of the Century. “
• “In my lifetime, Joe Frazier was the first American hero, the first legendary figure in the city of Philadelphia, that people were allowed to touch,” said Burt Watson, Frazier’s long-time friend and former manager and the current site coordinator for the UFC, in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
“He made himself available to anybody and everybody, just like the UFC fighters now. He was just an average Joe. Joe was a man of the people and he was there for the fans all the time. He was a guy who loved boxing, who loved life, who loved people, and he didn’t act better than or superior to anyone. He was just a normal, average Joe and I think that’s why people loved him.”
• “Frazier and Ali were quintessential the apex of pedigree fighting in which each man would not give an inch until they were dead,” said former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, on his Twitter account. “Their era was competitive fighting at the highest level. As a young fighter it has always been an honor to be compared to Frasier.”
• “He proved himself in the first fight to be a great, great man and a great, great warrior. The third fight was the greatest fight in the history of boxing. Ever. The greatest fight ever,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represented Ali.
“I still remember leaving the coliseum in Manilla and going outside. The sun was so high in the sky beating down on us. It was almost eerie. It was unworldly what we had just seen. Two men fighting one of the great wars of all time. It’s something I will never forget for all the years I have left.”
• “RIP Smokin Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Frazier family. We lost an all time great,” said Mayweather on his Twitter page, while offering to pay for Frazier’s funeral.
• “Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador,” said Pacquiao.
• “Not only was he a great fighter but also a great man. He lived as he fought with courage and commitment at a time when African Americans in all spheres of life were engaged in a struggle for emancipation and respect,” said promoter Don King, who promoted the Thrilla in Manila. “‘Smokin’ Joe brought honor, dignity and pride for his people, the American people, and brought the nation together as only sports can do.”
Mayweather sanctioned in S.C.
A federal judge has ordered Mayweather to perform 40 hours of community service for skipping a deposition in South Carolina.
Mayweather—who was recently cleared of misdemeanor harassment charges—help the Las Vegas Habitat for Humanity Project by the end of January or face further sanctions, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. wrote on Monday—after ruling that videotape showing Mayweather at a pair of Atlanta nightclubs in September contradicts Mayweather’s doctor’s advise that his deposition in a lawsuit needed to be delayed as he was recovering from injuries suffered in his fight against Victor Ortiz.
Mayweather is being sued by Anthony Dash, who says he created a beat for a song in 2005 that was illegally used by Mayweather when he appeared at a pair of World Wrestling Entertainment events.