Funko’s Manny Pacquiao collectible toy

HBO premieres documentary following Manny Pacquiao as he prepares for Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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.

The road to the May 2 Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight begins

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.

Manny Pacquiao records entrance song for Mayweather fight

SB Nation:

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.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. announces Manny Pacquiao fight

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.

15-Minutes With Manny Pacquiao

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.

MellyLee-MannyPacquiao-15

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.”

MellyLee-MannyPacquiao-21

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.”

Manny_Gravitas_Poster

Best Asian American athletes in 2014


Northwest Asian Weekly (By Jason Cruz)

It was another stellar year for API sports.

It started off with Doug Baldwin and the Seattle Seahawks bringing home the team’s first ever Super Bowl and a parade that seemingly the whole city of Seattle came to see.

The Winter Olympics were a bit of a disappointment for Asian Americans. Mirai Nagusa was denied making the U.S. women’s figure skating team despite making the top three.

J.R. Celski earned a Silver medal in the men’s Short Track 5000-meter relay but failed to medal in any of the three individual events he competed in.

Julie Chu, the first Asian American woman to play for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team ended her career with a Silver medal for the U.S. team. However, her quest for Gold was thwarted just three minutes before the end of the Gold Medal Game against Canada. With the U.S. up 2-0, Canada made a furious comeback and scored two goals in three minutes to send the game into overtime where Team Canada scored another goal for the Gold. Chu played in an unprecedented four Olympics and was the U.S. Olympic team’s Flag Bearer for the closing ceremonies.

In April, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring and avenged a controversial loss to Tim Bradley by winning a convincing unanimous decision.

The World Cup was held in Brazil in June and the two Asian nations competing, South Korea and Japan, did not fare well. Both were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Also in June, Michelle Wie won her first major golf championship with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open. At the same tournament, 11-year-old Lucy Li became the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open.

University of Washington men’s golf team member Cheng-Tsung Pan played in the British Open in July. The UW junior earned the spot by tying for second at a qualifying event in Thailand. This fall, Pan decided to turn pro.

The U.S. Tennis Open featured great runs by 24-year-old Japanese star Kei Nishikori and China’s Peng Shuai.

Nishikori, who was coached by Chinese American Michael Chang, made it all the way to the men’s final before losing to Milos Raonic.

Shuai made a surprising run to the semifinals where she had to retire (forfeit) due to continued leg cramps.

Absent from the women’s side of the tournament was Li Na who announced her retirement in September.

In October, Apolo Ohno finished the famed Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

November saw Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring as he destroyed Chris Algieri. Pacquiao’s next opponent…Floyd Mayweather?

In December, the University of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s biggest individual award.
Mariota becomes the first Asian Pacific Islander to win the trophy.

And without further ado, here are the top 10 API athletes of 2014:

10. Harley Kirsch

Kirsch, who is part Korean, was the quarterback for the Eastside Catholic High School team that defeated the vaunted Bellevue High School football team to win the Washington state class 3A football championship. Located in Sammamish, Washington, the school ended Bellevue’s 67 game winning streak. Kirsch is only a junior and will return next season to lead Eastside Catholic.

9. Amelia Andrilenas

The junior gymnast at Juanita High School qualified for the state meet and placed first, second, and fourth in all-around meets during the 2013-2014 season.

For the outsider, the most astonishing thing about the 4’11” gymnast is that she has only one hand. Andrilenas, who was adopted from China, took up gymnastics at an early age and has excelled since.

8. Jeremy Lin

Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason to complement Kobe Bryant. So far, Lin has not done much to help Kobe. He’s averaging just 10 points for the currently 9 win and 22 loss Lakers. He did score a season high 21 points in the Lakers’ first win. While he is far-removed from the days of New York and Linsanity, he still is a contributing member of the Lakers who hope to rebuild.

7. Tim Lincecum

It seems that every other year Lincecum and his San Francisco Giants seem to win a World Series. The Giants won baseball’s World Series this year making it three times in the past five years that the team has won the title. Lincecum, who is a Washington native and part Filipino, pitched his second-career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June. He also picked up his 100th career win this past September. Although Lincecum played sparingly in the World Series, he picks up his third ring.

6. Chloe Kim

At only 14, Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but the snowboarder did earn silver in the “superpipe” at this year’s Winter X Games. Look for the Korean American to make the next team in the 2018 Winter Olympics which are in her parents’ home country of South Korea.

5. Julie Chu

A pioneer in the field of women’s hockey as Chu was the first Asian American to be on the women’s team and the first to play in four Olympics. She also starred in a commercial with her mother shown during the Winter Olympics.

4. Mirai Nagusa

The 21-year-old Los Angeles native was denied a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s figure skating team despite winning the Bronze medal at the U.S. Championships. Usually, the top three are awarded spots on the Olympic team. However, the U.S. Figure Skating committee determined that Ashley Wagner, the fourth place finisher make the team based on Wagner’s stronger international record. Although it was reported that Nagusa would appeal the decision, she later decided not to pursue it.

3. Apolo Ohno

The Olympic medalist is keeping busy in retirement. Last year he ran the New York Marathon. This year, he has completed one of the most grueling events out there, the Kona Ironman Triathlon. Ohno finished in 9 hours, 52 minutes and 27 seconds. What will he do next?

2. Marcus Mariota

The Oregon Duck won the Heisman Trophy in December and leads his team into the first College Football Playoff. Mariota is certain to be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Doug Baldwin

It’s pretty easy to pick Baldwin as he was a key part of the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl last year and remains one of Russell Wilson’s most valuable receivers. Hopefully, we’ll see Baldwin (and the rest of the Seahawks) with another Super Bowl ring in 2015.