Manny Pacquiao, Kobe Bryant Eyed for World Sportsman of Year
Southpaw eight-division titlist and WBO welterweight (147 pounds) and WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) king Manny Pacquiao is among six international athletes nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of The Year award, along with the Los Angeles Lakers' star Kobe Bryant.
The other nominees are comprised of soccer players Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, respectively, of Argentina and Spain, tennis player Rafael Nadal of Spain, and Abu Dhabi grand prix motor sports racer, Sebastian Vettel, of Germany.
The winner will be unveiled during a televised awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 7.
BoxingScene.com first reported the news.
The 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) will pursue his 14th straight win and his ninth knockout during that run in a Showtime pay-per-view televised defense of his WBO belt May 7 against 39-year-old Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao is coming off of an HBO pay-per-view televised, unanimous decision over former titlist Antonio Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) that was staged at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Two weeks prior to facing Margarito, Pacquiao, a congressman in the Sarangani Province of his native Philippines, attended an October rally for United States Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada, whom he informed of his desire to meet president Barack Obama.
During an upcoming, four-state press tour promoting Pacquiao-Mosley, steps have been taken for Pacquiao to meet Obama perhaps on Feb. 15 in Washington, D.C., during the journey's final stop.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and organization publicist, Lee Samuels, told FanHouse that a press tour will begin on Thursday, Feb. 10 in Los Angeles, followed by stops in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 12, New York on Monday, Feb. 14 and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, told BoxingScene.com, that some members of the Pacquiao team already have received clearance to visit the U.S. Senate floor as Reid's guests.
"The president obviously has a lot of things on his plate," said Arum. "So what we're definitely planning is a meeting in Senator Reid's office, and then, Senator Reid is going to take Manny to the floor of the senate."
Obama and Pacquiao were each featured on "60 Minutes" on Nov. 8 -- a mere five days prior to Pacquiao vanquishing Margarito. In December 2009, Pacquiao was named among Time Magazine's Top 25 People Who Mattered in 2009 -- listed alphabetically directly behind Obama.