Boxing ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. reflects on Manny Pacquiao
When he steps into the ring, Manny Pacquiao always insists famous announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. spell out his Philippine province of Sarangani.
Pacquiao’s pride in this region is understandable, given that he previously served as a representative of that province’s Congressional District and is currently a senator in the Philippines.
Some have speculated that Pacquiao, 42, will run for President of the Philippines in 2022 and that his fight against Yordenis Ugas on Saturday could be the boxer’s last, although Pacquiao has indicated he will continue to fight.
“He defied all predictions and he defied age for so long. I tend to believe him when he says it won’t be his last fight, “Lennon Jr. said.” He doesn’t see it that way. ”
Saturday’s fight will be Pacquiao’s fourth fight Lennon Jr. has announced.
Pacquiao’s opponent in that game, Ugas, is a last-minute substitute after a retinal tear forced Errol Spence Jr. to step down earlier this month from his scheduled WBC and IBF welterweight title defense. .
But Ugas is not a lay-up. He is three inches taller and seven years shorter than Pacquiao. And since working with a new coach, Ugas has lost only once – a split decision loss to Shawn Porter – in his last 12 fights.
“I don’t consider him an underdog,” said Lennon Jr. “He’s one of the top five welterweights in the world… It’s not an easy fight at all.”
Pacquiao could also be rusted or diminished, not having fought since July 20, 2019, when he defeated Keith Thurman by split decision to win the WBA title.
At the time, Pacquiao was among the highest paid athletes in the world according to Forbes.
For Saturday’s fight, Pacquiao reportedly received a guaranteed $ 5 million purse, and his total winnings could be around $ 25 million depending on how many people pay the $ 74.95 fee on the FOX app. Sports.
FOX is in its third year of partnering with Premier Boxing Champions on its myriad of platforms.
Lennon Jr. was scheduled to announce another major FOX fight: the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder match on July 24, but Fury tested positive for Covid-19, pushing the fight back until October 9.
Less than a month after the Fury-Wilder fight was postponed, Spence Jr. gave up against Pacquiao.
“Welcome to my world lately,” Lennon Jr joked. “It’s been a scramble.”
Relying on hot tea and throat lozenges to keep his voice booming, Lennon worked as a ring announcer for 38 years. He called more than 15,000 fights, including more than a thousand world title fights, in 35 different countries.
Some might say he was born into the profession.
His father, Jimmy Lennon, has advertised fights for over 40 years, and his family are said to be watching him on KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles.
“I thought everyone’s dad was on TV regularly,” he said.
But the youngest of Lennon’s five children, whose voice echoes his late father, majored in psychology and education at UCLA and sought a trade to “help people.”
He was a teacher and principal before boxing gave him a hint.
“The ring serves as the stage for the greatest of human dramas,” said Lennon Jr.
He first saw Pacquiao on this stage via his front row seat in 2002 when he was on hand to call Lennox Lewis’ main card against Mike Tyson.
In the undercard, Pacquiao knocked out Jorge Eliecer Julio.
Although Pacquiao’s physical talents stood out, Lennon Jr. has since marveled at his kindness.
Lennon Jr. remembers one fan not only asking Pacquiao for a selfie, but also wishing him to hold the camera so the angle was better. The humble boxer obliged, holding the camera while winking at Lennon Jr. in the process.
Pacquiao will be at work Saturday night when he returns to the stage for the first time in over two years.
“I’m proud to be a part of every great fight,” said Lennon Jr .. “And he’s one of them for sure.”
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