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L.A. Mayor Honors Boxing Champ Manny Pacquiao

Asian Journal, News Report, Joseph Pimentel /AJPress - Los Angeles Posted: Mar 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES In front of a raucous crowd, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa honored the pound-4-pound boxing champion Manny Pacquiao during the "Day of Service" celebration recently held at the Search to Involve Filipino American (SIPA) offices in Historic Filipinotown.

The mayor, along with Assembly member Ted Lieu, honored Pacquiao for his contributions inside and outside the boxing ring.

"Hes a great champion, a great human being, an environmentalist, a man who understands that fame and celebrity comes with a responsibility to the community," said Villaraigosa, while introducing Pacquiao to the crowd.

Villaraigosa then brought out a large framed certificate of appreciation, giving it to the boxing icon.

"Thank you very much for inviting me here to be part of this program to plant 1 million trees in LA," said Pacquiao. "Im very proud to be part of this program."

The Day of Service celebration focused on the importance of maintaining and cleaning the environment in Historic Filipinotown and greater Los Angeles.

Pacquiao, who is training for his upcoming May 2 fight against Ricky Hatton, said that he accepted the invitation to this program because he chairs an environmental task force in his home of General Santos City, Philippines.

"We have a similar program to plant trees, thats why when they invited me to this program, I said okay," he said.

In recognition of Pacquiao and Villaraigosa, two trees were planted to honor the men in front of the SIPA headquarters.

According to SIPA, 200 new trees have been planted around Historic Filipinotown and more than 200,000 new trees in the city of Los Angeles as of February.

Villaraigosa challenged the crowd to plant their own tree in honor of Pacquiao.

"I want everybody in this town, every one of you today in honor of Manny Pacquiao," said Villaraigosa. "[to] plant a tree in front of your home, a tree in your yard, a tree in your community in honor of a world champion, that is considered the best pound-4-pound and a good human being."

Giving Villaraigosa a Hard Time

Before Pacquiao and Villaraigosa met with the estimated 300 people outside SIPA, media members gave Villaraigosa a hard time about who he was rooting for in the Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya match last December.

Villaraigosa, a Mexican American, said that hes a good friend of De La Hoyas and admitted he was rooting for his friend during the fight.

"I know Im being honest, Ive known Oscar for a long time," said Villaraigosa. "But I have to say that Manny showed that he was the true champion that night."


Related Articles:

Is Pacquiao a "Mexican" Boxer?

Pacquiao Buries De La Hoya

Against All Odds: Pacquiao TKOs De La Hoya


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