Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum and WBO and WBA lightweight titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines on Monday as part of the first stop in a four-city tour promoting Marquez’s third bout with WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao.
The dizzying, week-long juant will cover three countries and an estimated 25,000 miles.
The fighters and their entourages are starting out in Pacquiao’s native Manila, will head to New York and Los Angeles, and end their tour on Sept. 8 in Marquez’s home of Mexico City.
“I am happy to be here. This is my second time visiting Manila,” said Marquez, who turned 38 years old on Aug. 23.
“I love the Filipino fight fans, and I am happy I got this opportunity, not just to fight Manny Pacquiao again, but because I get to return to Manila.”
Marquez has broken what been his protocol by insisting on doing all his interviews in English, something he began immediately after checking into Hotel Manila.
Not long after that, Marquez and his Hall of Fame trainer Nacho Beristain crossed the street for a 30-minute run at Quirino Grandstand.
Named in honor of former President Elpidio Quirino, the grand stand is the venue from which Filipino presidents traditionally take their oath of office and address their nation for the first time.
A motorcade delivered Marquez and Arum to the offices of Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim.
Arum and Marquez were entertained by a 100-piece band on the outdoor plaza of the mayor’s compound, and, later, received the keys to the city of Manila from the mayor during a public ceremony.
“Everyone has made me feel at home. I will be training in the mountains for this fight,” said Marquez. “This is a very important fight to me, and I know it will not be easy to win it.”
The clash is the third between the 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) and Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs).
In spite of flooring Marquez three times during their first meeting and once in their second, Pacquiao battled to a draw before winning a disputed split-decision, respectively, in May of 2004 and March of 2008.
A winner of belts over the course of eight divisions, Pacquiao will be looking for his 15th consecutive win and his ninth stoppage during that time in defense of his WBO welterweight title.
Marquez holds the WBA and WBO lightweight belts and has won three straight fights, including consecutive knockouts in the ninth and first rounds against Michael Katsidis and Likar Ramos in November and July.
DE LA HOYA DISCUSSES MAYWEATHER JR., ‘INNER DEMONS’
Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya says that he won’t lie to himself or any one else anymore.
The 38-year-old former world titleholder and Olympic gold medalist has admitted to a cocaine and alcohol addiction, said that he is three months sober, and that he is reconciling with his wife after a brief separation.
During a recent interview with RingTV.com, De La Hoya expressed concern in relation to the outside-of-the-ring troubles of unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr, who will challenge WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17 on HBO Pay Per View.
Mayweather Jr. is a defendant in six lawsuits, with one of them being a defamation suit filed by Pacquiao.
“Obviously, it’s a whole different scenario, but when you’ve experienced what I’ve experienced with my rehab and everything, you can become aware of all of these inner demons that people can live with,” said De La Hoya.
“You can understand more of what life is all about as far as the emotions and what really goes on inside of someone’s head. I kind of have an idea of what Floyd Jr. is feeling, but only he knows how he feels on the inside.”
De La Hoya watched the first episode of HBO Sports’ 24/7 series promoting the Mayweather-Ortiz clash, which ended with Mayweather Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Sr. ripping each other with harsh, obscenity-laced language.
The drama re-ignited a thought-to-be smoothed-over feud that had existed for years between the son and Floyd Mayweather Sr., who once even threatened to train De La Hoya to beat Mayweather Jr.
“I first of all felt bad for his father. I felt sorry for Mayweather Sr. That must be a very difficult world for them. I wish that one day that they could reconcile,” said De La Hoya.
“I do wish that one day Floyd Jr. opens up his eyes and realizes who really loves him and who is there for him and who will always be there for him. That’s his father. Family is family. Blood will always be blood.”
MIKEY GARCIA ON DONAIRE-NARVAEZ CARD
Unbeaten featherweight Mikey Garcia (26-0, 22 KOs) is targeted for a return to the ring on an HBO-televised card from New York’s Madison Square Garden against an opponent to be determined on Oct. 22.
Garcia will be on the under card of a main event featuring WBC and WBO bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) in a defense opposite southpaw WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez (35-0, 23 KOs).
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]