LOS ANGELES — Manny Pacquiao’s latest performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! ran just over two minutes, but required more than two weeks of planning.
Fred Sternburg, Pacquiao’s tireless publicist, recounted the story after the Filipino puncher teamed with Kimmel on the Bee Gees’ 1977 hit “How Deep Is Your Love” on Thursday night.
Pacquiao had first suggested a Bee Gees tune several weeks ago — not “How Deep Is Your Love” specifically — but the producers at Kimmel were unsure about it. Subsequent ideas included a duet of “Ebony and Ivory” with fellow guest Eddie Murphy (an idea Pacquiao quickly vetoed) and “That’s What Friends Are For” with both Murphy and Kimmel. Even Stevie Wonder was considered as a surprise guest.
“Endless Love” was pitched, but Pacquiao said he only sings it with female accompaniment. (Diana Ross wasn’t available.) Not until a Kimmel producer picked up the CD at 8 p.m. last night from Pacquiao’s Studio City apartment was the song choice finalized. The fighter gave it a quick shot last night after a group bible study, then worked out any last kinks Thursday after his arrival at the theater where Kimmel is taped.
In the interview that preceded the performance, Pacquiao discussed his Nov. 12 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, his new produce line and the much-anticipated fight with Floyd Mayweather.
“I don’t know what’s the reason,” Pacquiao said of the impasse that’s prevented the richest prizefight in history, “but I’m ready to fight.”
– Bryan Armen Graham