By Jake Donovan
Ten days before Manny Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time, a far breezier reunion is in store for the fighting Congressman.
Pacquiao returns to ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ tonight (12AM ET/11PM CT), marking his 7th appearance on the ABC late-night talk show. Each performance has preceded an upcoming fight. The main topic of discussion, of course, will be Part IV with Marquez, which takes place on December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The run began with a spot on Kimmel's couch prior to his historic win over Miguel Cotto in Nov. '09. The win over Cotto earned Pacquiao a welterweight title, marking a record-breaking seventh weight class in which he captured a championship of sorts.
It also marked a banner year for the wildly popular Filipino star. Six months prior came a 2nd round knockout of Ricky Hatton to capture the lineal 140 lb. crown, his fourth division in which he laid claim to true championship lineage, also a boxing record.
All told, it made for a Fighter of the Year campaign, his second straight and third in a span of four years. There was a special feel to the lead-in for the Cotto fight, however. Pacquiao officially transitioned to a global attraction, including his gracing the cover of TIME magazine.
Pacquiao attributes a portion of the mainstream crossover to his business relationship with Kimmel.
"I am very grateful to Jimmy Kimmel," Pacquiao admits. "His (show) was the first network TV show in America to invite me to be a guest and because of that appearance I became known for being more than a fighter."
It has since become customary for Pacquiao to appear on the show prior to a fight. He has appeared twice per year on the show since 2010, with such sessions often including a singing performance from the fighter, who also doubles and triples as a Congressman and singr. His cover of "Sometimes When We Touch" has brought newfound fame to Dan Hill's timeless classic ballad.
Pacquiao has also performed duets on the show with Kimmel himself , as well as with comedian/actor Will Ferrell. It's all in good fun and a welcome break from the wear and tear that comes with his intense training camps spanning two continents.
"Jimmy is a very funny man and I always enjoy being on his show," Pacquiao joyously reveals. "I will never turn down his invitation. I am blessed to know him."
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox