Manny Pacquiao knocked out the competition Tuesday at a news conference in New York City – to promote his upcoming bout against Juan Manuel Marquez – with his singing voice.
The best boxer-slash-singer on the planet, Pacquiao, met a delighted crowd at Chelsea Piers with his signature smile, trademark charisma and, of course, a rendition of “Sometimes When We Touch.”
Unlike all of the previous occasions during which Pacquiao busted out the tune, however, this time there was a twist – this time he was accompanied by the original composer and singer of the ballad, Dan Hill.
And as the crowd sat there, grinning from ear to ear, everyone momentarily forgot why they had been summoned to the proceedings in the first place. The truth is, of course, that Pacquiao is the lone savior who can drum up any interest in a fight that everyone already acknowledges is about as one-sided as a match of its caliber can be.
It’s built entirely on history, but not even the lore relating to Pacquiao and Marquez’s rivalry can salvage the perception everyone has of it.
Once upon a time, these two fighters were seen as legitimate rivals who posed a serious challenge to each other. On not one but two separate occasions, Marquez came surprisingly close to handing the Filipino icon a loss.
The first time they met, the pair fought to a draw; however, it was later revealed that a judge’s error robbed Pacquiao of the victory. On the second go-around, despite a fierce battle from both sides, the judges ruled in favor of the man they cheated out of a win the first time.
Their last fight was two years ago, though, and a lot has changed since then. At 38 years old, Marquez is no longer the never-say-die warrior who can withstand three knockdowns in the first round of a match, only to come back with fury in the later rounds.
Rather, as his defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2009 proved, he’s now slower and less comfortable in his skin than ever before – which is okay when you’re making quick work of Likar Ramos, but gets dicey against the best pound-for-pounder in the sport today. The whole thing is a natural process that comes with age, of course, and one that every boxer eventually succumbs to.
When asked about Marquez’s claim that he beat Pacquiao twice and was the better fighter, the Filipino champion kept his signature cool.
"I already proved it," Pacquiao said, "but somebody is claiming they won the fight. I have to work again and prove I won the fights. I want to prove that somebody is wrong and somebody is right."
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, seemed similarly unenthused about the threat that Marquez posed.
"Pacquiao will knock him out somewhere along the way," Roach said when asked for a specific round. "Manny can't just walk in like we did [in the] first two. He was just a young kid then; he's a much more intelligent fighter. I'm very confident we will knock him out."
And because the end result of November’s showdown is already such a given, boxing fans must look towards outside forms of entertainment in order to be amused. That’s where Pacquiao’s singing comes into play.
Take it away, Manny…