Pacquiao fighting for Filipino awareness
LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao will undertake the latest step in his bid to join boxing’s immortals wearing an unusual – and distinctive – piece of equipment.
Pacquiao will use a pair of bright yellow boxing gloves when he faces Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday as part of his attempt to highlight and eradicate poverty in his homeland of the Philippines.
The 32-year-old also has urged all of his followers to wear yellow clothing for the bout, which he hopes will have the effect of instigating a “team sports” environment among the sold-out crowd of around 16,700.
“The biggest fight in my life is how to end poverty in my country,” said Pacquiao in a media conference Wednesday. “This Saturday I will wear yellow gloves as a symbol of hope and poverty. And I would like to invite you all to wear yellow. We have to be united.”
Pacquiao is an iconic figure in his homeland, where he was elected congressman for the Sarangani region last year. Part of his campaign manifesto was to improve the plight of his nation’s poor, and he is a firm supporter of the Gawad Kalinga charity, which has built 50,000 homes in repressed areas.
His status as boxing’s biggest draw will bring much-needed publicity to the cause, with promoter Bob Arum confidently predicting up to three million pay-per-view buys in the United States alone.
The yellow theme could make for a spectacular visual scene in Las Vegas, with most of the crowd expected to comprise Pacquiao fans, many of whom will make their way from various parts of the U.S. as well as a healthy contingent flying in from Asia.
“It will make my heart happy to see yellow colors in the crowd,” said Pacquiao. “It will be a beautiful and special thing for everyone to unite in this way, with boxing, and hope and charity. It will be like everyone is supporting a team, like in basketball.”
Mosley is expected to wear red gloves as per usual in his bid to cause what his advisor James Prince admits would be the “biggest upset in the history of boxing.”
At 39 years old and with a defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a draw with Sergio Mora is his past two outings, Mosley is a rank outsider. Few observers believe Pacquiao is capable of losing to anyone on the planet, except possibly Mayweather.
Pacquiao is refusing to take Mosley lightly.
“I never underestimate him,” said Pacquiao. “He moves like he is 31 or 32, has good hand speed and foot speed, and he is strong. It is advantage for him too, because he knocked [Antonio] Margarito out.”
Pacquiao’s fight with Margarito in November went the distance but resulted in a resounding points victory for the champ.
Trainer Freddie Roach insisted his fighter’s intensity in training has been “better than ever,” and although Pacquiao is showing his charitable nature with his gloves’ color, he won’t extend the same virtue with their use.