Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
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Everywhere he goes pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao is surrounded by a swarm of Filipino fans who wave flags, take pictures, ask for autographs and who try to touch their national hero. “I never knew there were so many Filipino fans in London and in Manchester,” said Pacquiao after a very large, friendly crowd of fans surrounded his car when he arrived today at the Philippines Embassy. “I think we are all stunned about the number of Filipino fans here and their love for Manny,” said Bob Arum. “He really is a superstar, the national treasure of the Philippines.”
On Sunday morning a large crowd awaited for Manny when he went to mass at the famous Westminster Cathedral in London. He sat in the first pew and prayed. At one point some fans quietly walked slowly by him, touching his sleeve. He is never alone, at a restaurant or hotel lobby.
Pacquiao and his team, including chief trainer Freddie Roach, will take a flight from London to Los Angeles early Tuesday morning. Pacquiao will begin his training at the Wild Card gym later this week.
At the Monday press conference, Ricky Hatton said at the podium “…..Manny, I want that pound-for-pound title from you. I have never been beaten at 10 stones (140 pounds) which is my best weight when I go into the ring. You know I’m just too big for you.”
Pacquiao told reporters afterwards “…I’m not fighting ‘big.’ I’m in a fight against a fighter who believes in himself. Now it is a matter of who trains harder and who has more speed. I plan to train harder than I did for the De La Hoya fight and I believe I have more speed.”
“Hatton is younger, fresher, presents some interesting problems. I’ve watched a ton of video on him,” said Roach.
When asked ‘who will win?’ Pacquiao answered “…only God knows that.”
Pacquiao said he was very poor growing up, ate once a day, sometimes slept in the streets. His first fight was at the age of 12.
“I was given 50 pesos after the fight. That’s about $1,” said Pacquiao. “I gave it all to my mother.”
Pacquiao vs. Hatton ‘The East vs the West’ is promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions scheduled for May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Pacquiao vs. Hatton will be available on HBO Pay Per View.