THE final chapter of one of boxing’s most storied rivalries rolls off on Tuesday (Manila time) as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez hit Beverly Hills to kick off a whirlwind press tour for their December 8 showdown.
Trainers, promoters, and supporters of both fighters are expected to join Pacquiao and Marquez at the Crystal Ballroom on Sunset Boulevard for the formal proceedings that will also serve as the official presentation for the fourth chapter of this epic ring saga.
From there, the tour hops to the East Coast in New York for the second leg on Thursday (Manila time) at the Edison Ballroom in Times Square.
Highlight of the three-city presser comes on Saturday when the two future Hall of Famers revisit Mexico, where both enjoy a huge fan following as seen in a similar press tour they held in the Latin American country last year at the historic Monumento a la Revolución in Republic Square in downtown México City.
Marquez, 39, is obviously thrilled – and surprised – at getting another crack at the same boxing superstar who had beaten him twice in the past under controversial circumstances.
“I always thought that Pacquiao wouldn’t fight me again,” said Marquez in an interview by BoxingScene during the World Boxing Council middleweight title fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez on Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“I was worried about it and I was surprised he accepted the fight with me.”
It has been a year since Pacquiao and Marquez fought for the third time, the Filipino winning by majority decision in a 12-round World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight not a few thought Marquez won.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao also beat the Mexican by split decision in their 2008 rematch (super-featherweight), while their first meeting in 2004 (featherweight) ended in a controversial draw despite the Filipino southpaw sending Marquez to the canvas thrice in a blazing opening round.
This is the first time Pacquiao and Marquez are going to meet in a non-title match.
“There is no sanctioning organization title involved. We’re going to give that money to charity,” said Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum.