Even before the announcement of the most overhyped match-up in boxing history, it was no easy feat to gain admission to The Wild Card Boxing Club when Manny Pacquiao was present. But I was in the right place at the right time; by the time Manny showed up to train for his fight with De La Hoya in 2008, I’d been training at Wild Card for a couple of years and had photographed dozens of fighters, including the owner of the gym and Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. It still took some persistent begging on my part, but eventually Roach gave me the nod and told Pacquiao’s handlers, “he’s okay.”

That access didn’t last forever and the 2010 training camp for the Clottey flight would be the last time me and my camera were allowed into the gym. For all the photos I did take, the one thing you can’t capture with a camera is Pacquiao’s combination of power and speed. It’ll be tough for the fight to live up to the hype, but if that speed and power are on display tonight, we might just get our money’s worth.

Text and imagery by Russ Lamoureux [ russlamoureux.com ]