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Pacquiao and Cotto Hold Final Fight Press Conference

FilAm Star, News Report, Nicholas Von Wettberg Posted: Nov 12, 2009

LAS VEGAS -- Civility reigned supreme inside the MGM Grands Hollywood Theater at the final press conference for Saturdays Firepower championship fight between WBO Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto and Pound-for-Pound King Manny Pacquiao.

The Filipino fighter has become a global phenomenon after capturing championship titles from 6 different weight classes: from 112 to 140 pounds. If he wins this bout, Pacquiao will be the first fighter in boxing history to win seven world titles in seven different weight classes.

In a sport known more for its conflict than confluence, Wednesday afternoons media event provided a number of feel-good moments that brought a poignant perspective on boxing rarely seen outside the ring.

Las Vegas Mayor, the Hon. Oscar Goodman, started off the proceedings by ceremoniously presenting both fighters with a key to the city. We want you to know how much we care about the fact that you are both great humanitarians, as well as great fighters, Goodman said in appreciation. The key to the city is given to you with great affectionCongratulations to both of you.

Later on in the press conference, Pacquiao received another award, this time from the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

Wilfredo Jing Espiritu, the Nevada state chair of NAFFAA-Region 11, presented Pacquiao with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his accomplishments as a professional boxer and as a hero to the Filipino-American community. Bob Jose, NaFFAA state vice chair, said that the organization has lobbied the Mayors office the past year in hopes of Pacquiao being recognized as a viable social and economic force. In the last five years, Manny Pacquiaos contributions to this town (Las Vegas) has been tremendous because hes not only brought attention to our people, but hes also brought in tourists, Jose said to FilAm Star.

While there are no definitive numbers available from the Las Vegas Department of Tourism to back up that claim, last Mays junior welterweight championship fight between Pacquiao and the U.K.s Ricky Hatton attracted an estimated three million additional tourists.

Not surprisingly, Pacquiao was his usual humble self and thanked his fans from around the world, as well as the all-important members of his team.
This fight is the most important fight in my boxing career because if I win this fight, I think its another history in boxing and Philippine boxing, and its also a big honor to my country, to my family, and to me, Pacquiao said at the podium.

Cotto, the hard-hitting puncher from Caguas, Puerto Rico, was also gracious in his speech, and acknowledged all of his supporters, promising that he would come out of the WBO welterweight championship fight victorious.
Weve trained very hard for this fight and Im in excellent shape, said Cotto. It will be a great night for boxing and for the Puerto Rican people.

Top Rank Boxing president, Bob Arum, the promoter for both fighters, emceed the press conference and made sure to play it close to the vest during the proceedings. Afterwards, however, the legendary promoter commented on the significance of Pacquiao as an icon (Pacquiao is featured on the cover of the most recent issue of Time Magazine-Asia Edition).

I think the most important thing is his character, Arum said to FilAm Star. He really and truly is wonderful to the Philippines and wonderful for the sport of boxing. Its a great privilege of mine to be associated with him.

As for the rest of the weeks events leading up to Saturday fight night, Thursday will feature a press conference inside the media center, with the six fighters on the Firepower under card. Fridays official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which in the past has been a spirited affair, begins at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.

At that point, fans of Pacquiao and Cotto will start gearing up for a championship fight that should be anything but civil.

Photocredit: Nicholas Von Wettberg, FilAm Star

Related Articles:

Pacquiao Ready to Make Boxing History

Filipino Fans Cheer Manny Pacquiao's TKO Of Ricky Hatton

Fight Fans and 'Pacman' After the Dream Match

Beyond Pacquaio-De La Hoya, Two Peoples Long-lost Ties

Pacquiao Buries De La Hoya

Against All Odds: Pacquiao TKOs De La Hoya

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