Pacquiao diary: Meeting Willie Mays
Editor’s note: This is the second of four diary entries, exclusive to Yahoo! Sports, from Manny Pacquiao, the No. 1 fighter in the Y! Sports pound-for-pound poll. Pacquiao fights Ricky Hatton at super lightweight on May 2 on HBO Pay Per View in the biggest fight so far in 2009.
SAN FRANCISCO – I’ve been preparing hard for my fight with Ricky Hatton on May 2, and I’ve been working just as hard to help promote the bout. That means doing a lot of interviews and personal appearances.
Sometimes, it can be hard to have so much to do, but I understand that this is required to help make the fight successful.
I was really surprised by what I saw when we got there and by how much fun I had. I trained in the morning at the Wild Card Gym, so I didn’t miss any work, and then we flew to San Francisco for the game.
There were so many fans there, including a lot of Filipinos. I couldn’t believe it. Honestly, I was so surprised, but it was a good feeling. The fans were chanting my name and cheering loudly.
I went into the Giants locker room before the game and got to meet some of the players. I haven’t followed baseball that much, but Tim Linecum, one of the Giants’ pitchers, is part Filipino and he introduced me to the rest of the team. They were all very nice and they wanted me to sign autographs for them.
The mascot came onto the field and acted like he wanted to fight me, so I played around with him. It was pretty funny. I threw a fake punch at him and he fell down like he was knocked out and everyone cheered again.
They told me Willie Mays wanted to meet me and when I found out who he was and how important he is in baseball history, I was honored to hear that and to get the chance to meet him.
I met with a lot of fans and did a question-and-answer session with them. They were all very supportive. Then I got a chance to talk to some of baseball writers. I’m doing a lot of interviews these days.
I’m not forgetting about my training. I’m working as hard as I ever have and I’m taking this fight seriously. Ricky Hatton is a good opponent and I have to be in the best condition if I want to win.
It was a different experience getting away for the day and that broke up some of the boredom. Most days, it’s the same thing. We train, we eat and we do interviews. When we eat at the restaurant next to the gym, they often are playing a tape of my fight with Oscar De La Hoya.
I wouldn’t put it on, and sometimes, I’d rather just have the music, but it’s always nice to see that fight. That was one of my most important fights and most important wins.
We flew back after the game and I got back to work on Thursday. We’re just fine-tuning things at this point and making sure we have all our bases covered.
I’ve got two more diaries to do before the fight. I’m going to do one for you Monday and then the final one will be after the weigh-in on May 1, the day before the fight.
I’m hoping you can see the fight, because I’ve worked hard and want to give a great performance. I know it’s going to be a great fight, so don’t miss it.