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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Filipino icon off to running start

NEW YORK – Manny Pacquiao almost ran out of things to do yesterday in this great city also known as the capital of the world.

“Yes, he worked very, very hard today,” said Top Rank publicist Fred Sternburg who held on to the day’s itinerary that brought Pacquiao to the new Yankee Stadium before noon for the start of his back-breaking five-city press tour with Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao started the day running at Central Park, which was just a few blocks away from his hotel in Park Avenue, and those who were with him said the Filipino icon ran like he was preparing for the New York Marathon.

“He left all of us behind. We tried to catch up but the farther he went, the faster he got,” said training assistant Roger Fernandez.

Pacquiao had a brief rest in his spacious suite at the Loews Regency, and by 11 p.m. he and his entourage, which included Top Rank big boss Bob Arum, boarded two black SUVs on their way to the $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium.

Fight fans, mostly Puerto Ricans and Filipinos, packed a special portion of the lower stands and watched as Pacquiao and Cotto were introduced, and gave their respective thoughts on the fight Arum said “could be the fight of the decade.”

Then Pacquiao, as well as Cotto, granted lengthy interviews to the media. He hardly touched his food during lunch at the Legends Room of the Yankee Stadium, and by 2:30 p.m. he was off and running again.

This time it was for a special photo shoot with cable giant HBO which is filming the “Prime Power” documentary 24/7. It lasted more than four hours, and Pacquiao had to hit the bags, skip ropes, and sit down face to face with Cotto.

All under the bright studio lights.

Pacquiao often smiled and even laughed at each other during the interview, leaving the HBO anchor quite amused how they could do it and in two months time be banging at each other on top of the ring.

“I guess we just have to wait until that moment,” said Cotto.

And just when everybody thought the day was over, Pacquiao was whisked into another studio a couple of blocks away for another pictorial and an interview with a top-ranked sports channel.

It was here where the day’s events, and the fact that he had barely recovered from a gruelling 18-hour trip from Manila the other day, started taking its toll on Pacquiao.

“Nahihilo na din ako (I’m starting to get dizzy),” he told the members of his entourage. A couple of times in between takes, he tried to catch some sleep but would often be roused for another take.

“Five minutes more Manny, five minutes more,” he was told just to keep him going.

And he did without really complaining.


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