Barack Obama Pulling for Manny Pacquiao Against Shane Mosley?
Among the topics discussed by eight-division king Manny Pacquiao with President Barack Obama during their 20-minute White House meeting on Tuesday was basketball, politics and, of course, the fighter's May 7, Showtime-televised, WBO welterweight (147 pounds) championship defense against three-time, five-division titlist Shane Mosley, according to Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz.
"I was very honored that the president took time away from his busy schedule," said the 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts), who will pursue his 14th straight victory and his ninth knockout during that run against the 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee, also met Obama on Capitol Hill.
"Manny was very honored to meet the president and that he took that time away from what is obviously a busy schedule. They talked about basketball and about boxing, and Manny invited him to attend the fight and watch it live," said Koncz.
"But the president said that he can't watch the fight live," said Koncz. "Although he will certainly watch it on pay-per-view, and he said that he would be rooting for Manny and that he's going to cheer for Manny to win."
Pacquiao posed with Obama for several photos, including a boxing pose, in the Oval Office, pblicist Fred Sternberg told The Associated Press.
The President gave him three grocery bags full of light blue M&M's with the presidential seal, along with a watch adorned with the seal, and said he hopes to someday visit the Philippines, according to Sternberg.
Pacquiao also made an appearance on ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" prior to coming to the White House.
"Obviously, the president is a very busy guy," said Sternberg. "So, for him to take time out of his schedule to meet with Manny was a great honor."
The stop in Washington, D.C., is the last of a four-day tour promoting Pacquiao-Mosley. The tour began on Thursday at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles with stops in Las Vegas and New York, respectively, on Saturday and Monday.
On Tuesday, Pacquiao was welcomed on the floor of the United States Senate as a guest of Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who facilitated the visit with Obama.
"I think that it is a great honor for anybody to meet with the president, particularly for a foreign athlete. That just shows how far Manny has come in terms of his worldwide popularity, and what a well-respected world figure Manny is," said Top Rank Promotions' CEO Bob Arum, who is handling Pacqauiao-Mosley.
"There was the meeting in Senator Reid's office, as well as the Q&A and Senator Reid and Manny had at the Capitol, and, now the meeting with Obama. That's just absolutely incredible," said Arum. "It's not just an honor for Manny, but it really elevates the sport of boxing."