Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez kicked off their 25,000-mile four-city international media tour on Saturday with an outdoor public rally at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
Televised live nationally as an hour-long special on GMA 7, the rally attracted an estimated crowd of 70,000 enthusiastic Pacquiao and Marquez fans.
Quirino Grandstand, named after former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, is where Presidents of the Philippines traditionally take their oath of office and deliver their first address to the nation.
The two top pound-for-pound fighters and world champions began the day with a standing room only news conference in the historic Manila Hotel. What followed that afternoon was unprecedented for boxing – a fully-produced, hour-long live television stage production celebrating what many are predicting will be the fight of the year.
To do full justice to the day the scene must be set. Inasmuch as this is the monsoon season, divine intervention had to be requested for good weather for the outdoor event. Filipino tradition states that to insure good weather an offering of a dozen eggs must be made to Saint Clare at the Monasterio de Santa Clara to help pray for good weather.
Not taking any chances, 90 eggs were offered for this occasion. They must have been double yolks because it was a glorious and sunny day that featured stage shows and activities for the thousands of fans beginning at 7:00 a.m. By the time the Pacquiao-Marquez III public rally began at 2:00 p.m., the crowd had swelled to an estimated 70,000.
Both fighters and their promoters, Bob Arum and Fernando Beltran, addressed the crowd and answered questions from fans and media emcees. Pacquiao and Marquez entertained each other and their fans with their responses.
Marquez has particularly endeared himself to Filipino media and fans alike by addressing everyone in English and even offering up a little Tagalog. Following the rally, Pacquiao stayed to host his popular weekly television variety-game show, “Manny Many Prizes.”
Pacquiao: “I know there have been doubts over the last two fights. There have been debates on who won them. This fight should end all doubts. This fight should end all debates. I truly believe this fight will be the best fight we have ever fought and we will train harder than ever in preparation for each other. I began working out five days ago. The earliest I have ever started training. I want to seal the deal on this one.”
Marquez: “Manny is not the same fighter I fought before. He is now a two-handed fighter. No longer left hand-crazy, Manny’s right hand is as dangerous as his left and I think his speed is better too. I was not angry that I had to wait for this third fight because I always stayed busy, but I am very happy to have this fight now. I am fighting hard for my country and my fans.”
Arum: “The world of sports will see a classic, classic match. This match will be a credit to boxing and will be eagerly followed by all sports fans. Only an event this big would warrant a media tour this immense – one that not only includes the U.S. but the native countries of these two great champions. This will be Manny’s biggest pay-per-view promotion ever. I would especially like to thank Solar Entertainment for producing the Manila portion of this media tour. It was incredible and something none of us will ever forget."
Beltran: “I believe, and more importantly, Juan Manuel and his trainer Nacho Beristain believe, that November 12 will be Juan Manuel’s finest hour – and that’s saying a lot considering what he has already accomplished during his Hall of Fame career.”
Manny & Juan’s excellent adventure travels to North America tonight. The Pacquiao-Marquez III tour will resume with a public news conference on Tuesday, September 6 in New York at Chelsea Piers at Pier 60. Pacquiao and musical collaborator Dan Hill will begin the news conference singing their Top-10 hit single “Sometimes When We Touch.”
The Pacquiao-Marquez III media tour will then wing its way to the West Coast for a news conference in Los Angeles, at The Beverly Hills Hotel, on Wednesday, September 7. This will be the only tour stop news conference closed to the public.
The media tour will conclude on Thursday, September 8, in México City, where Marquez and an estimated 50,000 fans will host an afternoon final press conference at Monumento a la Revolución, a landmark and monument commemorating the Méxican Revolution. It is located in Republic Square in downtown México City.
The media tour is announcing to the world Pacquiao-Marquez III, Act Three of their exciting world championship trilogy. Pacquiao and Marquez, who have won world titles in 11 weight divisions between them, will go toe-to-toe for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight championship on Saturday, November 12, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Marquez Boxing, Tecate and MGM Grand, Pacquiao-Marquez III will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.