By Michael Marley, photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Manny Pacquiao may now consider himself Hollywood royalty.
When the original insult comic, the octogenarian (meaning he's even older than Bob Arum) Don Rickles pays personal attention to a boxer, that is huge.
Arum arranged the Wild Card visit for old friend Rickles on Thursday.
"I think Don is about 84 now but he looks terrific. His mind is still sharp and he was doing insults. I didn’t think any of the Filipinos would recognize him but many of them did, even the younger people. We stayed watching Manny work like an animal for 2 /12 hours. When we left, Manny was still working. Don has been around all the great fighters and he said he never saw anything like it.
"We had a great time. Don had his son, who is in his 50s, there and his manager who goes back to the Frank Sinatra era. Manny figured out who Rickles was, from the movies I guess.
"Naturally, Don did some shtick. He said to Manny, ‘When I came over in World War II to rescue you people, you were all living in huts.’ Everybody, including Manny, laughed," Arum said.
You young folks may not know it but Rickles comes from the Golden Era of television and of Las Vegas, the Rat Pack era when he strutted the stage and had the huevos to rip into tough guys like Sinatra, Dean Martin and other superstars.
"Rickles was stunned watching Manny’s drills. I also introduced him to (Julio) Chavez Jr. who knew him from the movies and TV," Arum said.
The great thing about "Mr. Warmth" as Rickles is ironically named is he insults all races, all religions, all creeds with equal venom.
And he does it in a vicious but lovable way.
Pacman with the great Rickles?
And Manny didn't even have to go to Dan Tana's Restaurant to mix it up with Rickles.
Now I am impressed, Megamanny.
Johnny Carson must be spinning like a gyroscope in his grave at Forest Lawn but laughing anyway.