Manny Pacquiao will spend a day with former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller as Turner Sports and HBO Sports join forces to present Charles and Reggie: Toe to Toe with Manny Pacquiao, a 30-minute show to be televised on TNT on Thursday.
The broadcast will follow the network’s NBA coverage and will include Barkley and Miller visiting Pacquiao at The Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, Calif., as he prepares with five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach for his fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez that will happen on HBO Pay Per View at The MGM Grand on Saturday night.
“As a boxing fan,” said Barkley, “it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”
Among the show’s highlights will be Miller joining Pacquiao on his morning run through Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Barkley sharing time with Roach, and both Hall of Fame players dropping in on one of Pacquiao’s training sessions.
“As a professional athlete, it’s always interesting to learn how other elite athletes prepare themselves for competition,” said Miller. “Training with Manny was an experience I’ll never forget.”
The Pacquiao footage will follow TNT’s NBA coverage of the Miami Heat playing host to the New York Knicks at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Dallas Mavericks visiting the Phoenix Suns at 10:30 p.m.
PACQUIAO GETS VISIT FROM HAWAII CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD
Democratic congresswoman-Elect Tulsi Gabbard presented Pacquiao with a flag that was flown over the Hawaii State Capitol, along with an honorary certificate.
“We have many tough challenges that our respective countries are facing,” said Gabbard, 21, during an appearance at Wild Card Boxing Club on Monday. “And our commitment to working together is a symbol of the unity that is necessary in order for our country and global community to move forward.”
As a member of the Hawaii National Guard, Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her service and currently serves as a captain.
Gabbard, 31, was the youngest person elected in Hawaii history, when in 2002 at the age of 21, she won a Hawaii State House seat.
Two years later, Tulsi gave up her position in the legislature to voluntarily join her fellow soldiers, being deployed to a war zone in Iraq. Between her two deployments to the Middle East, Tulsi served as an aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.
In 2010 she was elected to the Honolulu City Council, where she chaired the Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs committee.
On Nov. 6, 2012, she was elected by the people of Hawaii to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, and is one of the first female combat veterans to ever be elected to Congress.
Pacquiao appeared in print and radio ads for Gabbard during the weeks leading up to the August primary.
“I was proud to support Tulsi during her campaign because she stands for the people and will fight for their interests,” said Pacquiao, a congressman in the Sarangani, Philippines.
“I was impressed with her record of service and her deep ties to the Filipino community. I wasn’t surprised by her landslide victories, because she’s also a fighter. I am convinced she will make Hawaii proud.”
Gabbard said she was humbled by Pacquiao’s early endorsement because he is both a national hero and someone who has also chosen to serve the public in elective office.
“As Congressional members in our two allied countries, we are committed to working together on issues that are of concern to both of our communities,” said Gabbard. “Issues like eliminating human trafficking, immigration reform, and creating jobs to increase the economic prosperity and quality of life for the people in our communities.”
PACQUIAO IN ‘WONDERFUL PISTACHIOS’ AD
Pacquiao will also be featured in an ad for “Wonderful Pistachios” that will debut during “Monday Night Football” and then again later on “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” according to Bill King of the Sports Business Journal.
The 15-second TV spot opens with Pacquiao rhythmically hitting a green speed bag to music. When he unleashes a hard left hand, the bag explodes, spraying hundreds of pistachio nuts into the air.
“Manny Pacquiao does it,” says the narrator, seconds before impact, “with a knockout punch.”
MARQUEZ: ‘DO I NEED TO KNOCK OUT PACQUIAO TO WIN?’
Marquez and Pacquiao have been sharing their thoughts from training camp with HBO as they enter their fourth fight. In November, Marquez (54-6-2, 39 knockouts) lost a highly disputed majority decision to Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), with whom he has also battled to a draw and lost a previous split decision.
Pacquiao floored Marquez three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped him once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Dec. 17, chose to face Marquez over a return bout with Tim Bradley, whose controversial split decision in June dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder and ended his 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
Marquez, who turned 39 in August, rebounded with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s junior welterweight belt.
In this training blog distributed by HBO, Marquez talks about Saturday night’s contest with Pacquiao:
FRIDAY, NOV. 30: “There is something special about fighting the same opponent four times. It tells me that the first three fights have been good and competitive enough to merit one more fight, and when it is against an elite opponent such as Manny Pacquiao, then it’s even more special and more meaningful. Over the last eight years, Pacquiao and I have fought three times, and all the fights have gone the distance.
“And while people say Pacquiao has knocked me down four times over those 36 rounds, they should say three were in the first round of our first fight, that he has only scored one knockdown in the next 35 rounds, and none in the last 20 rounds while winning at least 26 of the 36 rounds we have fought over those three fights. So the question for this fourth fight is, ‘Do I need to knock out Pacquiao to get the win?’
“Well I will certainly try. I also know that while knocking out a fighter like Pacquiao won’t be easy, it’s not impossible either. I know that I have to be intelligent, fast and strong to beat him. But as we have seen in the first three fights, it is not just up to me to win the fights. It is up to three judges who score the fights. There is no doubt in my mind that I won all three previous fights with my skills and smarts in the ring, but the judges have denied me that victory.
“There is not much I can do about the judges. I don’t pick them and I sure don’t know them. I know most have never trained for three months for a fight, and most have never gotten in a ring for 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world, and most have no idea what sacrifices we must make to get in the ring and put on the best fight that we can. I feel that most people believe that I won our last fight very clearly, but the judges did not see it that way.
“And by the way, I am not only talking about my fights and judges. Look at what happened to Pacquiao against Timothy Bradley. I was ringside for that fight, and I felt that Pacquiao won it, but the judges took it away from him and that also is not right. I just want the judges to score the fight in the ring and not what they think is happening in the ring. I don’t care about the three previous fights and how they were scored anymore.
“All I ask is for a fair judgment, and if I lose I lose. But if I win, I want my hand raised that night in the ring. Pacquiao continues to be the best in the world, and to finally get a win over him will make me very happy. But don’t judge my career by these four fights. Take a look at all my 61 fights and then decide where I belong in the history of boxing.”
PACQUIAO: ‘MARQUEZ DOES NOT DEFINE MY CAREER’
An eight-division titlewinner who will enter his 61st career fight, Pacquiao’s last loss before Bradley had come against Erik Morales by unanimous decision in their first of three junior lightweight bouts in March of 2005.
After that, however, Pacqauiao scored 10th- and third-round stoppage over Morales, the two triumphs over Marquez, knocked out Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, and decisioned Marco Antonio Barrera, whom he also had knocked out in 2003.
Pacquiao shed light on what it means to face Marquez, yet again, during his HBO-distributed training blog.
FRIDAY, NOV. 30: “If you would have told me in 2004 that I would be fighting Juan Manuel Márquez in 2012 — and for the fourth time — well, I would not have believed it. But here we are, and for a good reason. Our previous three fights have been great — great for us and great for our fans.
“Unlike my three fights against Erik Morales, which were fought closer together and at the same weight, Juan Manuel and I have battled each other at three different weight classes, and always at important points in our careers. There is a certain feeling of destiny in our rivalry. It was meant to be that we fight each other four times.
“All of my fights with Márquez are important. He is a legend. Perhaps the best fighter México has ever produced next to Julio César Chávez. But Márquez does not define my career. My career is defined by many significant victories.
“World titles in eight different weight divisions and knockouts of Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Ricky Hatton mean as much to my career as my victories over Márquez.
“Champions are competitors first and foremost. They want to win. They need to win. I have put everything into this training camp. I know I haven’t fought perfect fights against Márquez in the past, and my incentive in this one is to fight the fight I should fight this time.
“If I do that, I will not only win again, but put away all doubts in the minds of the fans and Márquez on who is the better fighter. I want everyone to know the old Manny Pacquiao is still alive in the ring. Speed and aggression will be my main weapons, and if the knockout presents itself to me, I will go for it, as many times as it takes.
“What does this fourth fight with Márquez mean to me? It means the chance to author the final chapter of a marvelous story and to look forward to writing a new chapter in my ring life.”
MARQUEZ STOPS BY ESPN
As part of the all out media blitz for the Pacquiao bout, Marquez made an appearance on “ESPN Nacion,” which is hosted by
Bernardo Osuna in Los Angeles, before heading to Las Vegas, where he is expected to arrive on Tuesday.
SAUL ‘CANELO’ ALVAREZ PICKS MARQUEZ OVER PACQUIAO
NEW YORK — While sitting at ringside for this past Saturday’s unanimous decision victory by undefeated Austin Trout over Cotto, unbeaten Mexican WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez offered his thoughts on what will transpire in Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
“I think that it’s very difficult for Pacquiao to fight Marquez because of Marquez’s style, and that Marquez has a good shot at winning and he will do everything possible to win this time, and I think that Marquez is going to win,” said Alvarez, who looks to return to the ring on on May 4.
“I think that Marquez has won the last two fights. We support each other as fellow boxers and countrymen, so in regard to boxing, it would be great for history to get two, big wins in a row. It would be tremendous if Marquez could beat Pacquiao, and then, for me to follow that up with a victory in May.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo courtesy of HBO
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo courtesy of HBO
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com