By Johnny M. Pecayo
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, MANILA-U.S. TIMES
MANNY PACQUIAO (right) back-to-back with Juan Manuel Marquez. -- MUST PHOTO By Chief Photographer Romeo M. Balboa
BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- The press conference held January 15 at the Beverly Hills Hotel brought two super fighters together -- Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez -- and attended by members of the mass media.
Richard Schaefer of the Golden Boy Promotions told the members of the press that the 12-round bout "unfinished business" will be completed by March 15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The March 15 fight, a rematch of their May 8, 2004 legendary battle which ended in a draw, will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9p.m. EST/6p.m. PST, as announced by Tony Walker during the press conference that took place at 1p.m. immediately after lunch.
EDITH MONTELIBANO (left) of GMA-7 interviews Manny Pacquiao, who said he doesn't mind being branded as "Mexican Killer" in boxing. -- MUST PHOTO
Introduced by Bob Arum, president of Top Rank, Manny Pacquiao, Three-Division World Champion, with a record of 45-3-2 (34 KOs), went straight to the podium from the presidential table and said: "I have a lot of respect for Juan Manuel Marquez and his professional accomplishments. He was a worthy opponent the first time we fought and he showed the true champion's heart to come back and stay in the fight after I knocked him down three times in the first round. This is a big fight that will require my hardest training. I have prepared and will continue to train harder for this upcoming fight. I will give the boxing lovers the best I could, especially my countrymen, who have always been very supportive of my boxing career."
JOHNNY M. PECAYO, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, MANILA-U.S. TIMES, with the World Class Boxer and the Philippines' Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao. -- MUST PHOTO by Romeo Balboa
TV CAMERAMEN and Press Photographers covering the press conference, among them are Dr. Ed dela Vega, Dr. Manny Ortega and Romeo M. Balboa, MANILA-U.S. TIMES (MUST) Chief Photographer. -- MUST PHOTO
Juan Manuel Marquez gave a different message. "There isn't another fight I have wanted as much as this one," said the WBC World Super Featherweight Champion. "I won our first fight. He won the first round and I won the next 11. He (Pacquiao) has avoided me for four years, saying Pacquiao has been dubbed by other people as the "Mexican killer" but he is not, because he hasn't beaten me and he won't beat me. I will show him who is the better fighter on March 15."
MANNY PACQUIAO, with both hands raised, moments after beating Marco Antonio Barrera last year at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. ALLAN RECTO OF TEAM PACQUIAO
Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions agree,"Marquez vs. Pacquiao II is the fight that their fans have been waiting for, and we are extremely excited it is finally here. The first fight was very exciting but ended in a controversial draw. Juan Manuel is prepared for his chance to set the story straight not only for himself, but also for all of his fans, especially those from Mexico."
Fellow promoter Bob Arum, of Top Rank, stated, "There is something very special and unique about Manny Pacquiao. He really is the pride of the Philippines, a very exciting and charismatic athlete. However, Manny is going into the fight of his career, taking on champion Juan Manuel Marquez, who is driven by the fact that he is fighting for the entire country of Mexico."
Marquez (48-3-1, 35 KOs), from Mexico City, Mexico, captured his first world title in 2003, stopping former world champion Manuel Medina in the seventh round to capture the vacant IBF featherweight title. He unified the title by dethroning WBA champion Derrick Gainer to set the stage for his first mega-fight against Pacquiao. Following his majority draw against Pacquiao, Marquez successfully defended both title belts, winning decisions over Victor Polo and Orlando Salido, before traveling to Indonesia to face Chris John, where he lost a controversial decision. Marquez successfully advanced into the super featherweight division last year by dethroning WBC champion Barrera in March and successfully defending that title in November against Ricardo "Rocky" Juarez.
PACMAN is photographed with Tecate Model Vanessa Tabares. Tecate is one of the major sponsors of the March 15 "Unfinished Business" Marquez vs. Pacman II. -- MUST PHOTO
Dubbed "Republica Enemy No. 1," Pacquiao (45-3-2, 34 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, has blitzed through the best fighters Mexico has had to offer since 2003, including Erik Morales (KO 3, TKO 10), Marco Antonio Barrera (TKO 11, W12), Oscar Larios (W12), Emmanuel Lucero (TKO 3), Hector Velazquez (TKO 6), and Jorge Solis (KO 8).
The only "blemish" on this impressive resume was the draw against Marquez. Pacquiao was named 2006 Fighter of the Year by the BWAA and the Ring Magazine for his two spectacular knockout victories of Mexican icon and three-division champion Morales, as well as his dominating 12-round unanimous decision over former world champion Larios. The hard-hitting southpaw has won 21 of his last 22 bouts, including 2007 victories over Barrera and Solis.
Tickets for Marquez-Pacquiao II, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200 and $100, are now on sale and can be purchased at the Mandalay Bay box office and at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Macy's West at the Fashion Show Mall, and Ritmo Latino).
The Marquez vs. Pacquiao II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6p.m. PST on March 15, with a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD.
TECATE MODELS Gigi Preciosa and Vanessa Tabares caught the attention of the members of the press. -- MUST PHOTO
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, in association with Romanza Boxing Productions and MP Promotions, and sponsored by Tecate Beer, Rock Star Energy Drink and Southwest Airlines, Marquez vs. Pacquiao II Unfinished Business will be for the WBC and vacant Ring Magazine Super Featherweeight World Championship.
For the Marquez vs. Pacquiao II fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com, or click on www.manilaustimes.org