Pacman’s Media Day at Wild Card!
All Photos by Maria Hedrick
World Champ Manny Pacquiao held court yesterday at his open workout to promote his upcoming battle against Juan Manuel Marquez.
The two boxing idols will be clashing November 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in Pacquiao–Marquez III. The fistic pair will face off for the WBO Welterweight title (at a catchweight of 144).
At Pacquiao’s home away from home in the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, I found my place amongst the crush of the crowd assembled as Media Day for the beloved congressman and pound-for-pound puncher took place.
Space near the apron was at a premium as this whirling typhoon of power known as Pacman draws an audience like no one else. Squeezing in between the limbs and warm bodies of fellow writers and photographers, breathing room was limited. As we waited for the global boxing star to lace up, no one wanted to move an inch in giving up their prime spot of real estate. “Close encounters” of the boxing kind.
Was it worth the wait?
When it comes to all things Pacman, the answer is always yes. Manny has become the most recognized face of boxing and anything and everything the diminutive slugger does makes the news. For this special media workout at Wild Card, this was an opportunity few wanted to miss.
Smiling and relaxed, the phenom from the Philippines stepped out and greeted everyone with that familiar grin of his. And in case no one recognized him, the Filipino titan was wearing a shirt emblazoned with “Manny Pac-Man Pacquiao” with graphics of a fiery red glove and “MP” shorts in the colors of his national flag. Those familiar tattoos lining his arms also alerted everyone that Manny was in the building.
But his friendly facade faded as went to work–all fierce energy and trademark ferocity once inside the ropes.
Droves of U.S. and international media converged in the most famous gym in the universe to see the Filipino icon hit the mitts with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. Looking on were his famed promoter Bob Arum, strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, trainer Buboy Fernandez, fighters Jose Benavidez Jr., David Rodela, Bobby Pacquiao, NBA star Jalen Rose, among others.
The upcoming bout will have the world watching. That’s one thing Pacman has also accomplished–worldwide interest beyond the sweet science. People who aren’t necessarily “boxing fans” will tune in and happily plunk down their ducats to watch Manny Pacquiao, a combustible stick of dynamite who ignites the ring, square off against the latest challenger.
This time the challenger will be his longtime foe, one of Mexico’s favorite warriors in Juan Manuel Marquez.
This will be Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and Marquez’s (53-5-1, 39 KOs) third encounter in the ring as the Mexico hero called “Dinamita” is looking for revenge.
For Manny, he wants this win just as bad. He’s said now many times that this one is “personal.” Stating that Juan Manuel can be counted as one of his toughest opponents in the past (during the varying weight classes he’s fought), Pacquiao is promising another war on the canvas.
“I’m going to give a good fight November 12 and I want to make people happy!” the superstar said. The fans have responded; tickets have sold out but closed circuit viewing tickets remain at all MGM properties.
Check out these photos by Maria Hedrick of the eight-division world titlist Manny Pacquiao as he revs up for the November 12 showdown airing live on HBO Pay-Per-View. The battle is presented by Top Rank, MP Promotions and Marquez Boxing.
Photographer Hedrick stood her ground to capture these riveting shots of the Filipino fighter, WORTH HIS WEIGHT–AND WORTH THE WEIGHT!
After all, it’s not everyday you get to see boxing’s biggest icon in action as he gears up for the November 12 contest.
Scheduled for 12 rounds, few think this collision will go the distance.
Will Manny reign supreme?
Or will Marquez get his revenge?
Fight fans, WHO WILL WIN?
Photos by Maria Hedrick / MariaHedrick.com
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