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Ten-time world championship-winning boxer Manny Pacquiao walked the red carpet for the premiere of his new documentary Manny, but the real talk was whether his long-awaited fight against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather was set for this year.
Earlier in the afternoon, Pacquiao called out Mayweather on Twitter, claiming he was ready for the boxer to commit. “I been waiting for the last four years,” Pacquiao told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s no reason that he will not fight. He has to sign the contract and the fight will be on.”
Retired professional boxer Sugar Ray Leonard hopes that he won’t have to wait any longer for the anticipated fight as well.
“My understanding is it will take place this year,” Leonard told THR. “I’m hearing May. It’s going to be a fight that breaks all records, numbers galore. It’s going to be such a highly anticipated fight that it’s going to be crazy. I want to see it come to fruition.”
The rumored fight between the two welterweights was the talk of the evening as the cast and filmmakers of Manny gathered to celebrate the release of the documentary. Directors Ryan Moore and Leon Gast spent five years filming the Liam Neeson-narrated documentary that chronicles 36-year-old Pacquiao’s life, from living his childhood years in poverty in the Philippines to the expansion of his professional career today.
The welterweight boasts a stellar fight record and million-dollar endorsement deals, but he mainly wants his fans to see what his life is like outside the ring.
“I want to let them know that before I became like this I experienced a very hard life,” Pacquiao said.
Although he has achieved worldwide success, Pacquiao is devoted to the Philippines. The country comes to a stop to watch his televised fights, his face adorns billboards, TV ads and postage stamps, and he’s even found success acting and singing. Pacquiao’s already incredible story added another remarkable chapter when he was elected as the Philippines’ first boxing congressman in 2013.
“He’s such a philanthropist,” Leonard said. “He gives and he really cares for people. As much as he gives in the ring, he gives outside the ring to people who are not as fortunate.”
Pacquiao’s talent has attracted the likes of Hollywood, where Jimmy Kimmel, Jeremy Piven and Mark Wahlberg make appearances throughout the film, sharing their admiration for the boxer. Piven didn’t let his shooting schedule for Entourage get in the way of supporting the boxing champ.
“When they asked me to be a part of it I was honored,” said Piven. “I said, ‘Can they come to the [Entourage] set?’ It’s a little unorthodox to be on your own set doing somebody else’s documentary, but it’s Manny Pacquiao, so whatever he wanted — I just loved being a part of it.”
?Manny hits select theaters on Jan. 23. Watch the trailer below.
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