HOLLYWOOD--Manny Pacquiao’s mystique is getting positively Muhammad Ali like.
“Look at the press, look at the people,” promoter Bob Arum said at a packed Wild Card Gym. “It’s like a throwback to the days of Ali, it is incredible.”
I was one of a small group of scribblers who got to speak to Pacman in a cramped, steamy closet jokingly referred to as a dressing room here Wednesday afternoon.
It was Media Day at Coach Freddie Roach’s gym and even movie star Mickey Rourke showed up to pay homage to his former trainer and to Da Pacman.
Here’s words from the lips of Megamanny:
Constant mention of possible distractions: "I keep my focus. If you have a science test you study science, you don't study math. I am studying only Cotto. (Family plans) “My father, Rosalio, is coming to the fight. My mother will be there again. My sister Isidra is coming also. My father was a farmer, a corn farmer, in General Santos. “I want the people, the fans to be satisfied, with the fight. I want them to be satisfied with the fight. (On his amazing popularity) “No, I have thought about that. I think it’s because I always give it (all praise) to God. It is really amazing. This is all from God. I always thank God for giving me the fame, the wealth, everything.” (On Miguel Cotto’s strengths) “He is strong, he has a left hook and an uppercut. He is one of the toughest opponents I have ever had. I think he will be coming forward, being aggressive.” (On becoming a seven time world champion in a seventh weight class) “I am hungry because of this, winning seven different titles in seven divisions. I am so proud because I am the first person to do this and I am proud that a Filpino can do this." (On his greatest fight) “I say (Oscar) de la Hoya.” (On his country battling typhoons and flooding, dealing with disaster) “Right now, they are OK, they are recovering from the typhoons. But I want to win the fight, I want them to be proud. I want them to be happy.”
That applause you hear is the sound of 97 million Pinoys clapping wildly.