Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 | 12:49 a.m.
It’s difficult to believe that just three hours after a brutal beating and bruising in the ring of a 12-round championship bout that Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao could be onstage belting out pop music -- and directly after a hospital visit and a bandaged right ear after a blood-draining surgery.
Said our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue, who had exclusive access for the after-fight concert at Mandalay Bay Events Center: “It was an unbelievable show. It also was a heartwarming event and shining moment.”
Madonna “Mado” Decena of the Philippines, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, sang Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” remade into a smash by Whitney Houston. The three ladies of La Diva, who sang the national anthem at the fight and are dubbed the Destiny’s Child of the Philippines, sparkled onstage.
But in the end, they’d all come to see the Filipino band Calsada with Pac-Man as its lead singer! (Or has the band been renamed The MP Band for the boxing champ?) He arrived about three hours after the fight complete with visible cuts and bruises -- and, by now, the trademark bandaged right ear.
His 60-year-old mother Dionisia Pacquiao arrived to see and hug her son after his hospital visit. When Manny finally took the stage, more than 4,000 fans went crazy. The world’s No. 1 boxer grabbed the mic and spoke in English and Tagalog to thank the crowd for supporting him and showing up after his 12-round TKO win over Miguel Cotto -- click HERE for our fight coverage and photo galleries.
Said Tom: “In a sense, it was completely crazy. An hour or so earlier, he was toe-to-toe slugging it out one-on-one against the champion from Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto. Now complete with the injuries of a ring warrior, he’s as fresh as a daisy and singing his heart out. That’s when you know out of heroes legends are born.
“It’s one of the greatest photo stories I’ve ever captured. He sings for over an hour to his fans after spending an hour in the ring. Now that’s unbelievable.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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