HOLLYWOOD, CA.-Many a motion picture premiere has been staged on the same street for the past 100 years, but never a professional boxing event.
Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao and Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton strode the red carpet in front of the historic and still luxurious Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California on Monday. It’s the same place where the very first Academy Awards was held and across the street from the location where the current Academy Awards are handed out.
Pacquiao and Hatton walked into an army of media personnel and hundreds of spectators eager to catch a glimpse of the two prizefighters from different parts of the world. On May 2, Pacquiao and Hatton compete for the Ring junior welterweight world championship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“It’s great to be here in Hollywood,” said Pacquiao, who trains about two miles from the historic hotel at the Wild Card boxing gym.
Both fighters walked in with Hollywood actors Mickey Rourke and Mark Wahlberg along with various other celebrities from Southern California who attended the night festivities on Hollywood Boulevard.
Though no other boxing event was ever staged in this manner, plenty of Hollywood films depicting boxing have staged premieres on the same boulevard such as Body and Soul, City for Conquest, Golden Boy, The Harder They Fall, The Champ and Rocky, to name just a few.
On this night the two world champions met the media before they embark on preparing their bodies for all-out war against each other.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic fight,” said Hatton to a throng of people crowded into one of the ballrooms. “He’s a wonderful man, he’s a gentleman, he’s going to give an exceptional fight.”
Pacquiao is already in full training mode under Freddie Roach and has been exchanging vicious blows with lightweight contender Urban Antillon and junior welterweight phenom Mike Alvarado.
Hatton has been working in Manchester but now will transfer his training camp to Las Vegas under the guidance of Floyd Mayweather.
Both trainers do not like each other.
Mayweather has belittled Roach for the past several years and added another spark onto the gasoline calling Pacquiao’s trainer “joke coach Roach.” He also recited a poem.
Roach was not amused.
“I don’t have any poems, I’m sorry,” said Roach. “Don’t miss this one it’s going to be short and sweet.”
Amazingly the fighters were not as antagonistic.
“If the fight is half as good as the words from the trainers,” said Hatton trailing off. “You have the two most popular fighters in the world.”
A four-feet tall trophy will be awarded to the winning trainer between Hatton and Pacquiao on May 2. Top Rank’s Bob Arum said it goes to the Pound for Pound best trainer in the world.
When Mayweather was announced by master of ceremonies Jim Lampley as the self-proclaimed best trainer in the world, the boxing teacher was slightly miffed by the statement.
“I respect him (Lampley) a lot, but self-proclaimed?” asked Mayweather. “I am the best.”
Margarito hand wraps
Pacquiao said that Antonio Margarito had to know what was being inserted into his hand wraps.
“You know what they put in,” said Pacquiao about his trainer wrapping his hands. “Someone who does something like that does not have confidence in himself. He’s not confident about his own power.”
He was asked if the suspension should be a lifetime penalty.
Pacquiao said “no,” that a two-year suspension should be the limit.
Ironically, Shane Mosley, whose corner man discovered the illegal wrappings and pointed them out to the inspector, said he believes Margarito did not know about the knuckle pad being illegal.
Amazingly, the tickets for the Pacquiao-Hatton fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions are still available.