MANILA - Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant has picked Manny Pacquiao to win over Miguel Cotto in their scheduled slugfest this coming November.
“Manny all the way... I don't think that's even a question,” said Bryant, who is currently in Manila for the first stop of the Nike 2009 Asia Tour.
Bryant, who steered the Los Angeles Lakers to multiple National Basketball Association championships and is NBA’s 2008 Most Valuable Player, said that he’d like to watch Pacquiao in action.
“I've never seen him fight in person, but if I don't have a game in his next fight, I will be there,” said Bryant.
Pacquiao has reportedly given the nod to fight Cotto, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, at 145 pounds.
Bryant, also known as the “Black Mamba,” has recently teamed up with Filipino superstar for a photo shoot promoting Nike.
He said he admired Pacquiao for his accomplishments inside the ring, and that they share a passion for sports.
“I love him because I enjoy being around people who are just as competitive, have the same passion and work ethic… I watch him perform in boxing and he truly loves what he does. He loves the sport,” said Bryant.
Pacquiao, an avid basketball fanatic, earlier said that he has become a full-fledged Lakers fan since meeting Bryant in person.
He and his family had their pictures taken with Bryant after the Nike photo shoot in the US last July 8.
“Naging mainit at masaya ang aming pagkikita sa aming magkabilang set nitong nakaraang araw kasama si Kobe,” he said in his column Kumbinasyon recently. “Masasabi kong nahulog ang aking loob sa mabuting ipinakita sa akin ni Ginoong Bryant.”
“Sabi ko sa kanya, mula ngayon, ako ay isa nang ganap na Lakers fan at hihintayin ko siya sa Pilipinas sa darating na araw para naman maipakita ko rin ang hospitality na naging sikat sa ating mga Pilipino,” added. Pacquiao.