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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Puerto Ricans mob Manny Pacquiao

CAROLINA, Puerto Rico – Even in a supposedly hostile territory, Manny Pacquiao never fails to attract attention.

Arriving at the El San Juan Hotel here on a full-sized black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) late Friday night from a four-hour flight from Newark-Liberty International in New Jersey, Pacquiao was mobbed by Puerto Ricans asking for his autograph, with giggling Latin señoritas posing beside him for pictures.

Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas this November.

While the entrance to the elevator was just several meters away from the main door of the stylish hotel, it took Pacquiao a while to get in as he put on a wide smile whenever pictures were taken, obliging to sign whatever was handed to him.

Pacquiao arrived in high spirits together with lawyer Franklin Gacal, Canadian adviser Mike Koncz, and training assistant Roger Fernandez and two Manila-based scribes who will tail him during the five-city publicity tour that kicked off Thursday at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Also on the same Continental Airlines flight were Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, publicists Lee Samuels and Fred Sternburg, and lensman Chris Farina.

Cotto took an earlier flight accompanied by another publicist, former La Opinion sports editor Ricardo Jimenez.

Jimenez said Cotto went straight to his hometown of Caguas where a press conference will be held Saturday afternoon at the Centro de Bellas Artes.

Caguas is 30 to 45 minutes from the capital city of San Juan.

Team Pacquiao is originally slated to leave for San Francisco shortly after the event here in time for Sunday’s baseball game at AT&T Park, but Pacquiao has been asked to fly instead to San Francisco the following morning so he could provide morale support to Filipino boxer Rodel Mayol.

Mayol is facing local slugger Ivan Calderon on Saturday night here and Pacquiao’s presence could boost Mayol’s chances against the crafty Calderon.

The flight to San Francisco from San Juan can be anywhere between 10 and 15 hours.

Earlier in New York City, Pacquiao engaged in a free-wheeling conversation with staff members of the sports section of the New York Times, where he said he still plans to fight beyond 2009 and seeking political office in May next year in the Philippines.

Pacquiao told the Times’ sports editor Tom Jolly that he has made up his mind to run for congressman in Saranggani province “to help the poor people suffering in my country” despite his defeat in his first try in 2007.

“What I learned is that you have to prepare well just like in boxing,” said Pacquiao, who was later taken to the airport for the flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Pacquiao was joined in the interview by trainer Freddie Roach, who also answered some questions during the 45-minute exchange.

Asked if he would still continue fighting even if he wins in Congress, Pacquiao answered in the affirmative.

“Yeah,” he told Jolly, who was also joined by another member of the sports section, Greg Bishop.

“That’s part of the deal,” blurted out Arum, grinning.

Pacquiao also narrated his experience helping his mother Dionisia make both ends meet by selling pre-packed fish crackers and doughnuts and engaging in construction work at a very tender age.

“We were really very poor,” said Pacquiao, who told the Times that his first pay check was a paltry R1,000 (about $20).

“That’s a lot of doughnuts,” somebody from the room said, eliciting laughter.

Pacquiao now is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes and the 30-year-old banger stands to earn as much as $20 million, according to Arum, who reveals that Pacquiao is guaranteed $13 million for fighting Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas.

The visit to the NYT was the second time that Pacquiao visited a major US news organization after dropping by the Los Angeles Times a few months ago.

Source: mb.com.ph


  1. pacman should have body guards wherever he goes, we're not really saying somebody might harm him but for security reason, pacman is so popular now a days might some jealous people will have hatred on him, we don't know some other people are crazy.

  2. pacman is a filipino hero,,, go for it,,show the world what u are