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MEETING MY HERO, MANNY PACQUIAO

By Tamara "Miss Rara" Suguitan | March 31, 2009
MEETING MY HERO, MANNY PACQUIAO

Did I really just attend a boxing media event? I sure did...the exclusive red carpet Hollywood premiere of "The Battle of East and West" Pacquiao vs. Hatton. First and foremost, I'd like to thank FightHype for giving me the opportunity to write for them and to meet one of my heroes, Manny Pacquiao. I'm really in shock and awe that I was able to attend such a great event and got the chance to interview Freddie Roach, Victor Ortiz, and the one and only Manny Pacquiao.
 
As some of you know, I normally attend mixed martial arts events, so it was interesting to see the difference between a boxing and mixed martial arts media event. I'm so used to seeing everyone wearing jeans and Affliction shirts, or some other type of MMA Apparel brand name clothing. To my surprise, almost everyone was dressed up in suits with jackets and ties, including reporters and even some photographers.  Then again, maybe I'm being too over-analytical. After all, the event was being held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California for what could be considered the fight of the century. The red carpet was packed with news cameras, photographers and fans screaming in the background.  They had an announcer outside introducing everyone walking on the red carpet. Inside the Blossom room, where the press conference was being held, they were serving all kinds of food, like tri-tip, chicken, mashed potatoes, fruit and salad. Thank GOD they were NOT serving sandwiches (lol). The best part about it, though, were the free drinks (lol), including free wine and Tecate.
 
Most people know I live my life on my BlackBerry. I'm constantly on the go and somehow still glued to the Internet, lurking on the Underground, checking my RSS feeds to MMA sites, posting Facebook updates, taking pictures for my BeenUp2 account and tweeting on Twitter. I admit, I'm a twitterholic (*raises hand*). :)
 
I took a picture of Victor Ortiz as he walked the red carpet and happily posted it. The caption read "Can Victor Ortiz look any more cuter than what he already is?" After that, more celebrities started to walk the red carpet and I entered the Blossom room hoping to catch an interview with Ortiz. I remember walking up to him and quickly turning away. Gosh, I'm so used to happily walking up to an MMA fighter for an interview. Why couldn't I find the courage to approach a boxer? It was a good thing I turned away because I realized that the battery on my voice recorder was dead. "Oh no," I thought. I hurried and walked out of the hotel and as I did, I didn't realize Freddie Roach was doing a television interview. I kinda walked behind him, but the cameraman mean-mugged me when I squeezed by. I told him I was sorry. I didn't even realize what was going on around me. All I knew was I was on a mission to get to the store to buy AAA batteries so I could interview some fighters. :)
 
Now how ironic is this? So, I'm at this Pacquiao vs. Hatton media event and Filipino UFC light heavyweight Mark Munoz texts me to ask if I was in Nashville. I replied back and told him where I was and he was so stoked. He said he was supposed to be there as well, but was in Nashville for UFC Fight Night 18 to corner Tim McKenzie. That would have been dope if fellow Pinoy fighters Mark Munoz, Phillipe Nover and Brandon Vera were all there. MMA kababayan all day everyday. :)
 
Anyway, as soon as I got back, more media started to enter the press room. Since I didn't know anyone there, I was chillin' by myself just analyzing everything around me. I saw Freddie Roach getting interviewed and waited for my turn. I got a really good interview out of him and couldn't believe that I had the opportunity to chat with such a boxing legend that's been in the game for decades. Of course, I took a picture with Freddie Roach and posted it as soon as I was done. :)
 
I saw Victor Ortiz with his girlfriend walking near Freddie and politely asked him for an interview. I thought he was cute until I asked him if he followed mixed martial arts and he replied, "to be honest, no I don't." In just a matter of seconds, he went from being cute to not cute at all (lol). After all, how could you not follow the wonderful sport of mixed martial arts? Then again, he is a professional boxer and will definitely be a household name himself in the next few years. I didn't bother to ask Victor for a photo because his girlfriend was standing right there. Not that it mattered, it's just common courtesy.
 
Shortly after, Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao entered the room. All cameras were on and rolling, with flashes in every direction. Floyd Maywearther Sr. starting rhyming playfully, dissing Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach at the same time. It was pure comedy.
 
I thought of my Dad right away and sent him a text, "I wish you were here with me. This is such a cool event." My Dad loves boxing and growing up, my sister and I would always watch it with him. To be Filipina at an event like this, how could I not think of him to share that moment?
 
After the conference was over, a security guard was telling everyone, including me, to leave except for print media. As he was telling another group of people to leave I turned around and went straight to Manny Pacquiao's table where he was talking to reporters. No way I was gonna walk out on an opportunity like this. I was determined!
 
While other reporters were asking him questions, I was standing right next to Manny. As he was being escorted to leave, I jumped in with my recorder in hand and got a chance to ask him a few questions. It didn't last long because he was being rushed, but he kinda looked at me with a confused look like, "Is this Filipina really asking me about mixed martial arts?" Ha ha! I had to do it! Plus, he even let me take a picture with him and sure enough, I posted it right away. :)
 
I sent the photo to my mom and called my parents to share my experience with them. Being a prideful mother, my mom had already sent it to everyone on the Little Manila board (my family helps run a non-profit organization, The Little Manila Foundation, that helps preserve Filipino-American history in Stockton, California. Check it out at www.littlemanila.net). She is so cute.
 
Well, that was my experience at the red carpet Hollywood premiere of "The Battle of East and West" Pacquiao vs. Hatton. I had the opportunity to experience part of the boxing world, interview Freddie Roach and Victor Ortiz, and most importantly, I got the chance to meet one of the greatest boxers of all time, my hero and my country's hero, Manny Pacquiao.
 
I hope you all enjoy my interviews. :)

Check out more from Miss Rara at http://www.missrara.com/

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