Vocal talent aside, there's no denying Pacquiao's impact on LA's Filipinos: They pack the space wherever he appears, going wild and shouting his name when he takes the stage. When he sings the refrain of his song -- with its repeated chant of "Filipino" -- you don't have to be from the Philippines to feel the pride.
MTV VJ Quddus was the host for Saturday's event, Under the Hood With Manny Pacquiao. Quddus fielded audience questions while a coy Pacquiao, flanked by trainers Freddie Roach, Buboy Fernandez and Alex Ariza, slided his responses between audience howls."If you could fight any past or present fighter, who would it be?," Quddus asked.
"Mayweather!" "Floyd!" "Tyson!," the crowd called out. Nothing yet from Pacquiao. The crowd again: "Mayweather!" "Jesus!" "Tyson!" "Tyson!" In the darkness of the Montalban's back row, you wondered whether Pacquiao's hesitation is a product of compromised brain function, or just the thoughtful response of an icon who understands his influence. (Pacquiao's trainer and former boxer, Roach, seated to his left and watching with admiration, is the one afflicted with Parkinson's.)
"Miguel Cotto," Pacquiao answered with boyish diplomacy. If Pacquiao beats Puerto Rican WBO welterweight champ Cotto on November 14, he will have won a record-breaking seven boxing titles in seven separate weight classes.
"I'm hearing a lot of Tyson," Quddus said.
"Who?" Pacquiao replied, in what was either understated humor or just plain difficulty hearing.
"Tyson," Quddus repeated. Pacquiao laughed. The humility was real; at that moment, you liked him even more.
Well, would he fight Tyson?"Maybe in the game," he said, the crowd laughing with him.
You could imagine Tyson and Pacquiao going out for pizza and having lots to say, but not saying very much.
"What's your inspiration?" Quddus asked next.
"My family, and my fans," Pacquiao responded thoughtfully, not giving too much away. The crowd went wild. Again.