HOLLYWOOD – On the eve of his departure for Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao failed to hide how he missed the bright lights of the Entertainment Capital of the world.
“I’m excited to return to Las Vegas,” he said inside his multi-million house in Los Angeles which was a hub of activity on Sunday afternoon.
The 35-year-old boxing star has not been to Las Vegas, site of many of his memorable fights, the past 15 months, or since losing to Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez in stunning fashion following a sixth-round knockout in December of 2012.
They Said It!
““I’m excited to return to Las Vegas." Manny Pacquiao
Following the Marquez loss, Pacquiao fought just once last year in a match held at the Cotai Arena in Macau where he pummeled Brandon Rios in a 12-round unanimous decision.
So it’s going to be a homecoming of sorts for Pacquiao when he travels to the gambling capital on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) accompanied by a long convoy of vehicles bringing along relatives, friends, and supporters for his April 12 (U.S. time) rematch against reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Tim Bradley.
The trip from LA to Vegas will take Pacquiao and his team some four hours of travel by land, shortly after his final sparring session at the Wild Card gym, where trainer Freddie Roach is expected to spar the eight-time world champion for four rounds.
Being a Sunday, the Sarangani province congressman took the time to relax with relatives and friends at his packedn house in Plymouth, where he served sumptuous lunch and dinner of prawns, beef, pansit, fruits, and bibingka, attended a church service, hosted a darts tournament, and did a mini-concert later in the evening.
After personally awarding the cash prizes to the winners of the weight-loss contest he launched for women members of Team Pacquiao, the legendary Filipino boxer saw action in the darts tournament held in an adjoining room inside the mansion, where he unfortunately, lost in both singles and doubles.
Then before calling it a day, he joined a small group of people singing in his sala accompanied by a pianist. Pacquiao, who once recorded an album that included the hit song 'Para Sa Yo,' belted out a total of six songs including `Let It Be,' 'Ikaw’, 'Sana’y Maghintay Ka Lang’, and 'Sana’y Maulit Muli.’
Among the popular faces spotted in the crowd of more than a hundred included former beauty queen and actress Anjanette Abayari, Original Pilipino Music (OPM) great Florante, strength and conditioning coach Justine Fortune, horse owner Relly De Leon, and Pacquiao lawyer Jeng Gacal, who is still recuperating from a massive stroke.