Manny Pacquiao will make his fifth appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Thursday night, continuing his tradition of being on the show prior to big fights.
Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) will be seen on “Jimmy Kimmel” nine days prior to his third clash with RING lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) in defense of his WBO welterweight belt on Nov. 12.
“I’m excited to come back to Jimmy Kimmel’s show. That’s become a pre-fight tradition. I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen,” said Pacquaio. “But I know that he’s going to interview me about the fight and ask some other questions.”
Pacquiao has battled Marquez through a draw and a split-decision victory in two prior meetings as featherweights and junior lightweights.
“Manny will be appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show. It’s become a normal routine for Manny before these fights,” said Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum. “Jimmy’s a great guy, and it should be terrific.”
Pacquiao, who will face Marquez at a catchweight of 144 pounds, debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live just three days after Halloween in November of 2009, prior to dethroning Miguel Cotto as WBO beltholder by 12th-round knockout later that month.
Pacquiao was also on the show prior to his unanimous decision welterweight defense against Joshua Clottey in March of last year, as well as before earning the WBC’s since-vacated junior middleweight belt with a unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito in November of last year.
During his third appearance before the Margarito fight, the show with a duet of John Lennon’s classic, “Imagine,” alongside comic actor Will Ferrell.
A winner of 14 straight fights, eight of them by knockout, Pacquiao was on Kimmel’s show for the fourth time prior to the May 7 defense of his crown, when he unanimously decisioned Shane Mosley.
In addition to Kimmel, Pacquiao was interviewed on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” on Oct. 28, as are Top Rank Arum and Roach, a five-time Trainer of the Year.
“We’ll have an announcment very shortly as to the date that Piers Morgan’s interviews with Manny, Freddie and myself will be airing on CNN,” said Arum.
HOW DOES PACQUIAO OVERCOME DISTRACTIONS?
Throughout the nearly two years since vanquishing Cotto, Pacquiao has been on top of the boxing world, even as he has navigated the scrutiny ranging from alledged performance enhancing drug accusations from rival and RING No. 2-rated WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs), legal issues involving his financial dealings and VisionQwest and the political responsibilities of being a congressman in the Sarangani Province of his native Philippines.
How does he do it? Pacquiao’s answer is simple, if not easy to relate to.
“I can still focus and I can still train hard. I trained hard for this fight,” said Pacquiao. “I think I just have to set aside all of the distractions.”
A simple answer from the man who does it, but what does his promoter think?
“One thing that I have to say is that a lot of what you read about any celebrity and particularly about Mannyis blown up stuff in the press,” said Arum.
“So that when you mention one of these issues, yeah, it’s an issue, but it’s dealt with by the lawyers, and by whomever is supposed to deal with it. So it really never is a blip on anybody’s radar as far as Manny is concerned, and as far as his preparation is concerned.”
Being a congressman, however, requires a unique and special focus, said Pacquaio.
“I’m a little different than most boxers,” said Pacquiao. “I can just balance it.”
YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT PAYBACK
Pacquiao’s five-time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, said that his fighter is “on fire for this fight,” and, “training really, really well.”
“I think that there was a little spark from Marquez and a little slap in Manny’s face from Marquez’s wearing that shirt in the Philippines saying that he beat Manny twice,” said Roach, of a photo that is positioned behind the speed bag of Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing gym where Pacquiao trains.
“I think that Manny’s going to pay him back for that, so I think that payback’s a bitch. There’s an extra spark in Manny for this trainining camp, I feel, and I’ve never seen Manny as motivated as I have for this fight.”
Pacquiao, himself, said that he longs to distance himself from the notion that he lost either of the first two meetings with Marquez.
“He’s claiming that he was robbed, and that he won those last two fights,” said Pacquiao. “I can say that this third fight will be the answer to all of the doubters.”
This time around, Pacquiao will be ready to win more impressively, even compared to equal Mayweather’s one-sided unanimous decision dominance of Marquez during the latter’s 147-pound debut in September of 2009.
“I’m not going to say that I’m going to knock him out, but I trained really hard for this fight and we’ve gone over a lot of things for this training camp,” said Pacquiao.
“If the knockout comes, then it comes. That would be a bonus for the hard work that I did. I worked hard for this fight to make sure that I’m ready and in 100 percent condition for that night.”
One of the things Pacquiao, a southpaw, has prepared for is Marquez’s counter right hand.
“I know very well his style from the last two fight. So we’ve developed a strategy and we’ve studied different moves for his counter punches. So I’m ready for this fight,” said Pacquiao.
“I will never underestimate Marquez, and I feel strong and I trained hard for this fight. There is a big difference for this fight, because I’ve changed a lot over the last four years since we last fought. I’ve improved a lot. I think my right hand has developed very well, and I grew in power. There is a big difference.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org