According to Top Rank President Bob Arum, the longrunning CBS news icon 60 minutes will begin taping a segment on Manny Paquiao this week, following the Filipino pound-4-pound king as he trains at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Gym in Hollywood in preparation for his March 13 bout with tough Ghanian Joshua Clottey in Jerry Jones’ Cowbody Stadium in Dallas. According to Boxing Examiner writer Michael Marley, Arum said the segment will air next fall and is a rare look at a sporting figure by the show.
As someone with deep ties to the Philippines, I’ve been following Manny for years and I remember wondering 3-4 years ago, when he was working his way through the entire pantheon of Mexican warriors, if he could ever be recognized as a global sports superstar — he of the not-so-great English (but he always insists on doing his interviews here in English) and humble persona. I find it both exciting to see Manny getting as far as he has in becoming embedded into the international consciousness, and also reassuring that the general public can react as positively as it has to this type of sporting persona. That said — I’m saddened by the fact that if you run this story or any Pacquiao story by a casual sports fan, yes–they might know he just got Boxer of the Decade but they’re just as likely to say something to the effect of him being the Barry Bonds or Mark McGwyre of boxing even though there isn’t a shred of evidence to support such a claim. It just shows the impact that the Mayweather mouth machine has had on a legacy that, until Mayweather decided to make steroids and issue, was unblemished. And by the way, for those who don’t follow it that closely — Pacquiao agreed to unlimited urine testing, and blood testing up to 24 days before the fight, and immediately after the fight. Anyone who knows anything about PED’s knows that a 24 day blood testing window (with urine testing continuing) isn’t nearly long enough for someone to engage in effective ‘doping’.