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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pacquiao Army breaks Ali entourage record, 140 strong, including dog

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Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley

GRAPEVINE—That's actually where the world record breaking Manny Pacquiao Entourage, which makes the old Muhammad Ali carnival troupe look like a ragtag and smallish assembly, has landed.

Megamanny, gorgeous wife Jinkee, Pacman the dog and 139 of Manny's closest (?) friends and associates all came to Texas for his Saturday night bout against Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium over in Arlington (said to be a 20 minute ride away).

After the charter flight, organized by the efficient Canadian Michael Koncz and his various helpers, Team Pacquiao was suitably ensconced in the lavish Gaylord Texan Hotel , which has a huge atrium and is a microcosm of the state complete with a rendering of The Alamo.

Gaylord is the official hotel of Jerry Jones' storied NFL franchise which is commonly referred to as “America's Team.” Guess you could properly call the Pacman troops “Philippines' Team.”

I don't think the Philadelphia Eagles game traveling party runs as deep as Pacman's crew does. Btw, don't think Uncle Bob Arum pays the freight, not to mention the room service and bar tabs, for all these people. The entire bill is eventually paid by Pacquiao.

Suffice to say Pacman shirts and Pinoy flags are seen all over the Gaylord. The crowd is mixed in Manny's group, you basically have two kinds of people, Filipinos and Fil-Ams meaning Filipino-Americans.

I'm not sure if wife Jinkee is Manny's best friend or if little canine Pacman is but, just to be on the safe side, he brought them both to this, his last bout before the crucial May 10 Congressional election in Sarangani province.

Pacquiao is 0-1 in runs for elective office in his homeland and his foe this time is billionaire Roy Chiongbian who comes from a politically connected family.

I bumped into one of Pacman's 140 near my room. Now I don't want Floyd Mayweather, who claims to own and operate something a recording label/music management firm tastefully called Philthy Rich, but Pacman brought his vocal coach, Helen Buscema, along.

Buscema hooked up with Manny at Christ The King Church, not far from Freddie Roach;s Wild Card Gym, where she is the church cantor.

Can Manny really sing, I asked, and if he can't, who would have the nerve to tell him?

In two Jimmy Kimmel appearances, Manny has crooned two love songs.

“Manny has singing talent,” Buscema said. “He really does. My frustration is getting his time and attention for lessons. I am lucky to get bits of him, 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there because he has so many other demands on his time.”

Maybe Manny and Floyd can add a karaoke competition to that one on one basketball game between them that people keep suggesting.

Let's see who can deliver “My Way” in a more pleasing way, I say.

Have I lost my musical mind, I ask myself.

I just looked back at my now proper dateline.

The song must be the old Motown classic, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”


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