MANILA, January 12, 2006
(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Here’s a tip from someone in three-world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s camp.

Manny will likely wear white trunks when he battles Erik Morales in the epic duel at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 21.

Manny’s wife Jinkee will fly to Los Angeles on Monday via Philippine Airlines accompanied by Millennium Media Professionals chairman Eric Pineda and his wife Macy. They’ll be bringing two pairs of trunks for Manny to choose what to wear–white and red.

Since Manny wore red in his first fight against Morales, he’ll probably pick the white with orange flames–a "No Fear" trademark design–this time. Morales is known to wear white trunks for his fights so it’s possible both fighters will wear the same color. However, there won’t be a problem distinguishing one from the other.

When the smoke of battle clears, one man in white will be raising both arms in triumph and it won’t be Morales.

So what’s the significance of Manny’s trunks?

A source said advertisers are queuing for space in his trunks. So far, No Fear, Darlington Socks, Cafe Puro, Motolite and Philippine Airlines have signed up for space. There’s room for just one more sponsor to join the elite circle, said an insider, and time’s running out. By the way, the space won’t be only in Manny’s trunks but also in his fighting robe and Team Pacquiao jackets.

Imagine the media mileage of a product whose logo is emblazoned on Manny’s shorts. Millions will be watching the fight all over the world. Then you’ve got the pictures showing Manny in action to appear in the front pages of every Philippine newspaper.

Some fighters even sell their body space to advertisers and they get temporary tattoos to show logos of certain products or business establishments on their backs.

As for footwear, Manny will be wearing brand-new Pony shoes but they’ll be broken in by the time the bell rings in Las Vegas. The shoes were delivered to Manny when he arrived in Los Angeles over a month ago and he’s been getting used to the feel of the pair in sparring at the Wild Card Gym.

And there won’t be a problem of blisters on his feet. Manny will be wearing the socks he endorses, Darlington, of course. So his feet will be well-protected.

Since Jinkee, Eric and Macy are leaving on Monday, there are only a few days left to sign up the last advertiser for Manny’s trunks.

Before I forget, interested parties may call up Eric Pineda, who handles marketing for Team Pacquiao, at 439-4389.

Jinkee, who sings a duet with Manny in his brand-new CD "Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To," is celebrating her birthday today. To keep busy, she recently opened a convenience store, called "Pacman," in General Santos City.

Manny, Jinkee, consultant Jayke Joson, trainer Freddie Roach, the Pinedas, cornerman Buboy Fernandez, writer Winchell Campos and assistant Joe Ramos will motor from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Jan. 16. * * * Three-time Philippine champion Jimrex Jaca left for the US last night and will face Ivan Valle of Mexico in the Pacquiao-Morales undercard.

Jaca’s application for a US visa was initially denied last week. His manager Rex (Wakee) Salud sought Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella’s assistance in appealing for a reconsideration.

Last Tuesday, Jaca was called back to the US Embassy for another interview. This time, he passed with flying colors.

Jaca, who speaks little English, said the American consul behind the counter was assisted by an interpreter. He joked that since it was his third visit to the Embassy in less than a week, the consul probably took pity on him and approved his application.

In his third appearance, Jaca said he was asked what was his biggest purse in the Philippines. He said it was P50,000. But his biggest purse ever was the P300,000 paycheck he got for a fight in Japan. In Las Vegas, he’ll be paid $5,000 to take on Valle in an eight-rounder.

Jaca returned to the US Embassy yesterday to retrieve his passport and a stamped B-1 visa, good until April 9. Salud then put him on a flight to Los Angeles last night.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved