Pacquiao gets Romney pep talk before Marquez bout

Sun Dec 9, 2012 3:46am EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Defeated U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave Manny Pacquiao a brief pep talk before the Filipino's non-title welterweight bout against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday.

Romney, who with his wife Ann was a ringside guest of Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Bill Brady, visited Pacquiao in his dressing room during one of the fights on the undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I wish you good luck tonight," a smiling Romney said in front of television cameras to Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions. "Have a great night. Good to see you."

According to Pacquiao's publicist Fred Sternburg, Romney began the short conversation by saying: "Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost."

Pacquiao is no stranger to politics, having claimed a seat in his country's national congress in May 2010 when elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines.

On Saturday, however, the 33-year-old Filipino southpaw will be aiming for bold vindication in the ring when he fights Mexican Marquez for a fourth and final time.

The two boxers fought to a draw in May 2004 before Marquez lost his WBC super-featherweight title to Pacquiao in a controversial one-point split decision in March 2008.

When they last met, in November last year, Pacquiao narrowly retained his WBO welterweight title with a controversial majority decision that was greeted by loud boo-ing from disgruntled Marquez fans.   Continued...

Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney waits for the start of a welterweight bout between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus