They call Taishan Dong “The Great Wall”. At seven feet tall, he is an absolute monster and surely a fearsome sight in the ring for any other heavyweight boxer. Just last Friday, American Lance Gauch found out the hard way what it is like to be on the receiving end of the menacing fist of the giant Chinaman. Dong moved his professional record to 5-0 with the win – a win that the American will probably not remember too much about.
To be fair to Gauch, it appeared a mismatch all along, giving up more than 30 centimetres, or 12 inches, in height difference. Gauch did his best to avoid carnage from the big guy’s fists for most of the first round, but what was perhaps inevitable came thirty seconds before the bell to end the opening round was due.
Reports said that the referee of the fight, Ray Corona, didn’t bother with a count, and called the fight off immediately. Interestingly, some reports suggested that Gauch, whose record stands at 5-9-2, was actually winning the round up to the point of the almighty punch.
There was some concern following the knockout as it appears that Gauch was in some serious trouble. It was not only a knockout in boxing terms, but a literal knockout which saw the American lay prone on the floor for about ten minutes before being taken to by a stretcher to hospital.
It was a scary but awesome display of the damage “The Great Wall of China” is capable of. At 130kg, or 286 pounds, Dong is a monster from the Gansu province. However, he has relocated to the United States to further his boxing career, and has become a part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions since giving them his signature last year. Although playing a strategic game with who Dong is pitted against, Golden Boy believes him to be a legitimate heavyweight contender.
“Mr De La Hoya wanted to open the Chinese market because he believes in me,” Dong told Fox Sports earlier this year. “He knows I can become a champ”.
Dong is often compared to his countryman, Yao Ming – often referred to as the Yao Ming of boxing. Both men are huge. With his professional record now at 5-0, Dong’s first two bouts were both knockout followed by another two which went the distance. During the latest short fight, his opponent Gauch did look incredibly underprepared to meet someone like Dong.
Perhaps predictably due to his height, Dong is said to have initially entertained ideas of becoming a basketballer, before attempting kickboxing, to eventually settle on boxing. Those in the know say he has considerable hand speed and athleticism for a man of his size, although nobody got the chance to witness much of that during the latest fight.
“Nowadays I am more patient and can overcome any challenges that arise during the fight. I will give the best of myself. I will try to understand my opponent’s strategy from the beginning and therefore defeat him,” he said in an interview with Fox Sports. “My maximum potential has not been revealed yet. That is why I train hard, in order to become a world champion”.
Pop-culture licensed toy company Funko debuted the Manny Pacquiao collectible toy. The limited-edition figure is a mini Pacman dressed in his boxing apparel and gloves, “PACQUIAO” branded shorts, shoes and all, while sporting the red and white colors of the Filipino flag. The Funko Manny Pacquiao toy is available at all BAIT locations, as well as for pre-order on BAIT.
HBO has premiered the first of its two-part Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last series. In the mini-documentary, HBO profiles its respective fighter in the mega-bout, Manny Pacquiao, as his May 2 showdown nears.
The first episode’s time frame spans as early as 2003, when Pacquiao’s boxing ascent was first recognized, to the superfight’s focal issues around negotiations. Once again, HBO’s beautiful production shines through in what is perhaps an Emmy-contending feature. Cameo appearances also occur from Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall, both in support of Pacquiao as he prepares to defeat his rival Mayweather.
Enjoy the episode above to get yourself prepared for the fight of our generation.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have finally agreed to fight inside the ring. Following many years of ducking each other, the matchup between these two pound-for-pound kings still seems too good to be true. Yesterday, the two fighters met for a press conference promoting the May 2 showdown, reassuring fans the matchup is official. The press conference presented the last opportunity for the two fighters to trade verbal jabs until the weigh-ins, as the two will be doing very limited joint publicity to promote the colossal bout. Although the presser was quite tame in comparison to Mayweather’s past promotion antics and opponent-taunting, it did offer some notable moments, including the attendance of pop singer Justin Bieber.
Enjoy the event in its entirety in the video above, supplied by Showtime.
Beats by Dre is back in the boxing game. This Saturday night in Macau, fans could welcome the first Chinese IBF Flyweight world champion- Zou Shiming. Some may not recognize his name, but he has already won two consecutive gold medals for China.
Zou Shiming’s success is not guaranteed as he faces a fierce competitor in Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng. With legendary manager Freddie Roach in his corner, Zou Shiming looks to put Chinese boxing on the map.
Check out Zou Shiming in his second Beats By Dre produced spot entitled Relentless. Backed by the sounds of Royal Blood’s ‘Figure it out’, the video features Zou Shiming in a serious workout. Music and intense motion made possible by Powerbeats2 Wireless. `
Manny Pacquiao has recorded a new song for his fight with Floyd Maywether, eschewing (at least partially) old Pacquiao entrance standards like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” or Katy Perry’s “Roar” to once again share with the world the gift that is his angelic singing voice.
The boxer is preparing for his May 2 fight against undefeated Floyd Mayweather by laying down a track titled “Lalaban ako para sa Pilipino” or “I will fight for the Philippines,” which he plans to use as his entrance music.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KO) has previously stated that he’s officially dedicating this momentous event to the Filipino people, and the fighter/Congressman/cultural icon has always been known to shown great pride in his home country.
The 36-year-old Pacquiao last fought in November, routing Chris Algieri in Macau. He’ll return to Las Vegas to face Mayweather (47-0, 26 KO) in what is expected to be the biggest money fight in boxing history.
The moment that boxing aficionados and sports fans alike have been waiting for, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are officially stepping into the ring to fight. Money will be going into this matchup with a slight edge as the undefeated champion — 47-0 professional boxing record — however, he arguably has more on the line with Pac-Man’s two consecutive losses in 2012.
While both fighters are in the twilight of their careers, the hype and publicity that has surrounded this matchup for more than five years makes it one of the most anticipated contests and undoubtedly the richest fight in boxing history. The showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is set to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2, 2015.
Stay tuned for more news surrounding the fight and be sure to share your thoughts on who will go down as is the best pound-for-pound fighter of their era.
Next Shark (by Benny Luo; Photography by Melly Lee)
As expected from a celebrity of Pacquiao’s caliber, his schedule was constantly filling up and changing. Our originally planned date to shoot was changed at the last minute to the day before. Not only that, but on the day of the interview, our time with him was cut from 30 minutes down to 20 minutes and then finally to less than 15 minutes — meaning we literally had less than 15 minutes to do a video and photoshoot with him. But none of us even flinched — we’ve had days where interviewees would cancel on us last minute when we were already literally in front of their door, because “something came up.” Here was a man who was getting interview requests from mainstream outlets left and right, and yet he still made time for small fry like us. That was the moment I got my first peek into Manny Pacquiao’s character.
From the outside, it seemed as if the logistics would be a production nightmare. Apart from the scheduling issues, however, everything fell into place that day. As I was arriving to the shoot location, I got a call from the person handling publicity for Pacquiao while in Los Angeles.
“He’s on the way, but he’ll be 20 minutes late.”
To make sure things were easy for him, we saved one spot for his car when he arrived. Little did we know he was actually rolling up in a giant Escalade — along with an entourage that took up two other Escalades. Suddenly, we had to figure out how to fit three large SUVs into a small garage.
We managed to fit the first car into the garage with no problems. Manny’s car arrived second. Once Manny and his crew got out of the car, I walked up to shake his hand and to introduce myself. He then gave me a monotone, “Nice to meet you.” I could tell he was drained.
Once inside, a near-empty studio with just a few people was suddenly packed with almost two dozen people. His entourage included people taking pictures of him on their iPhones and a cameraman that shot video while following him around.
His schedule was so tight that his publicist was already screaming that they had to leave the moment he set foot in the door. I usually like to meet everyone and try to warm up with the person I’m interviewing, but I knew that was nearly impossible. I simply looked at Manny, pointed to the chair and told him to sit and get ready.
We spent a total of less than 15 minutes doing both the interview and photoshoot. Manny and his crew quickly left afterward for their next meeting. I could hear the tires screech as they left. And suddenly, our studio was empty again just liked it had been 15 minutes before he arrived.
Manny was in Los Angeles to promote his new documentary film, eponymously titled “Manny.” It’s directed by first-time filmmaker Ryan Moore, a USC film student who got the opportunity to make the film after a casual meeting with Manny in 2008 at a charity event. He told Life + Times:
“I think he knew that I was genuinely passionate about his story. I lived in the Philippines for five years and knowing what my family’s struggle was like, my imagination started running wild as to what Manny’s childhood was like being amongst the poorest of the poor. One thing I always knew was that I wanted this to be a visceral experience and I didn’t want this to be your typical documentary. I felt that Manny’s story was ‘Rocky’ meets ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ I wanted to make a movie that was more than boxing.”
The film is special not just because it shows what a badass Manny Pacquiao is in the ring, but because it shows how he’s a badass outside of it too. “Manny” highlights Pacquiao’s life growing up in a family that struggled to put food on the table everyday. At the age of 16, weighing in at only 98 pounds, Manny started his boxing career in order to earn money to take care of his family.
“Back then, we experienced [not] eating food, because we didn’t have money to buy food, so we just drinking water. That’s our experience and we survived. It’s not easy … even though I’m a successful person right now, I don’t want to change my attitude — always humble. Humility is always there because of my experience passing through this difficult life.”
The film features interviews with Manny himself, his wife Jinkee Pacquiao, coach Freddie Roach, Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven, Alex Ariza, Jimmy Kimmel, Larry Merchant and Bert Sugar. It is also narrated by Liam Neeson, who was chosen because he was a boxer himself up until he was 19.
Today, Manny is far from just a world champion boxer. In the Philippines, his home country, he is also a politician, a singer with a hit single and an entrepreneur. He’s so influential that it is said the crime rate drops down to zero percent during his fights. Why? Because literally everyone rushes to their TV screens to cheer for their country’s hero.
On what it’s like being poor and now being rich, Pacquiao’s response was relatively simple.
“The changes in my life is of course, I have plenty of food and I can buy whatever I want. And the Lord provides me all the things that we want to do. The way I treat people I’m still the same.”
In addition to his riches and success as an adult, Pacquiao has had dark times as well. He’s admitted that he was a womanizer, degenerate gambler and drinker in the past. However, he left all of it behind after becoming a devout Christian. To this day, Pacquiao admits his biggest fear has to do with his faith:
“My fear is [losing] my relationship to the Lord, to my God. That’s the biggest fear. That’s why I’m always building up my relationship with the Lord.”
Whatever his venture, Pacquiao reveals what his biggest passion is.
“… I think I already started doing it: Helping people … My goal in life is to help them, where I came from, and the people who are in need also. Because I know what they’re feeling and I know they really need help.”
With everyone wondering whether the epic fight between him and Mayweather is going to happen, Pacquiao unfortunately has no new news.
“My promoter and I have agreed already to whatever terms and conditions he wants. We’re just waiting for the signed contract. If he signed the contract [the] fight will be on and we’ll announce it. I believe the fans deserve that fight.”
When asked what he wants his audience and fans to take from watching his new documentary movie, he said:
“This is a very good movie. It will inspire people, especially the fans of boxing. They will know more about me, about Manny, not only in boxing, but my life, before I become like this. I’m pretty sure they’ll be inspired after they watch this movie. The [release] date will be January 23 in select theaters.”