MANILA, Philippines – Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is picking Filipino fight king Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao to beat Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight on December 8.
In an interview with Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star, Bryant explained his reason for choosing Pacquiao as the winner.
“Who’ll win? Manny, for sure... Manny wants to prove once and for all that he’s better than Marquez,” Bryant said.
It will be the fourth time that Pacquiao and Marquez will face each other, with their previous three fights all producing controversial decisions. They fought to a draw in 2004, but Pacquiao won their rematches in 2008 and 2011.
Bryant is also supportive of Pacquiao’s decision to fight Marquez again instead of taking a rematch against unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr.
Bradley beat Pacquiao via split decision when they fought in June, but most members of boxing media saw the fight in Pacquiao’s favor, something the Bryant agrees with.
“Manny’s got nothing to prove against Bradley,” Bryant pointed out. “He lost the decision but everyone knows he won the fight.”
Bryant, a "huge" Manny fan, has visited the Filipino fight king during his training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
The NBA All-Star also remembers seeing Pacquiao when he played in the Philippines for the Ultimate All-Star Weekend last year.
“If I’m not playing the night he fights Marquez, I’ll be there to watch,” Bryant told Henson.