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Mitt Romney Goes To The Fights

The post-campaign Mitt Romney is living an interesting life:

For sheer happy weirdness, nothing quite rivals the surreal encounters that occur at a major boxing match. Saturday night, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, as Manny Pacquiao readied himself in a dressing room for his fourth mega-fight with legendary Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez, Mitt Romney appeared. A guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Romney had dropped by the dressing room to wish the Filipino superstar good luck.

A seated Pacquiao was having his hands taped, in preparation for putting on his boxing gloves. An aide casually introduced him to Romney, who expanded on the introduction: “Hi, Manny. I ran for president and lost.”

The dressing room “exploded in laughter,” said longtime Pacquiao publicist, Fred Sternburg, in an e-mail this morning.

Pacquiao replied that it was nice to meet Romney, Sternburg added.

For the non-boxing fan, it is often a shock to discover a fighter willing to meet a stranger shortly before stepping into the ring. Politicians, for instance, typically wall themselves off from the world in the final hours of preparation before critical debates or convention speeches. But great boxers are generally accustomed to granting audiences in the last hours before a fight; it is one of those gladiator rituals that bespeaks a fighter’s composure and confidence. A fighter’s dressing room regularly serves as the American intersection between celebrity, sports and politics.

Romney chatted a little more before wishing Pacquiao a good night. Their brief meeting apparently ended without any discussion about their shared passion — politics — or Pacquiao’s work as a Filipino congressman. Romney left and joined his wife, Ann, in the sold-out arena, where their arrival elicited neither roars or boos but simply a few handshakes from passerbys. They took their seats near ringside and close to Pacquiao’s corner, seated in the proximity of former champions Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard, and basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

Pacquino ended up being knocked out in the 6th round.

Frankly, of all the places I thought Mitt Romney might be on a Saturday night, a boxing match in Vegas wasn’t even close to being on the list.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Markey says:

    “A guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission..”



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  2. Geek, Esq. says:

    Romney’s pollster told Pacquiao that he was 5 points ahead in the 5th and 6th rounds.

    Pacquiao to Romney: This is what it’s really liked to feel shellshocked at a loss.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Pacquiao to Romney:

    “Who are you? Hell… Who am I?”

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I say this as a Pacquiao fan (otherwise known as a fan of anyone who weighs 150 lbs and will climb into a ring with someone who wants to kill you.

    ps: I am probably an even bigger fan of Juan Manuel Marquez

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    Interesting note: Romney bumper stickers have disappeared very quickly around here. Many people still have both the 2008 and 2012 version of Obama sticker, but Romney went poof!

    How much longer do we figure for these Romney sighting stories? Two weeks?

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  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What a punch! JMM now all but guaranteed a spot in Canastota.

    I had scored all three prior fights for JMM, BTW.

    At one level it’s too bad this pretty much kills a Pac vs. Money fight, but given the fact that Floyd is a bigger, faster, more athletic and stronger version of JMM, with far better defense to boot, I think it’s pretty clear in any case how that bout would have turned out.

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  7. Franklin says:

    I’ve never really been a fan of boxing; during my adulthood it seems that most of the major bouts are just boring clutchfests that go to a decision. But this was a good one. Looked like Manny’s elbow (accidentally) drilled Marquez in the face just before the knockout … would’ve been great if it was a simultaneous double knock out.

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  8. C. Clavin says:

    @ Michael Reynolds…
    I was in Central FLA last week and there are still tons of Romney bumper stickers. So many I find it hard to believe Obama won the state. Of course you see a lot of Confederate flags too.
    Here in CT all the Romney stickers and signs are gone.

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  9. James H says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Mitt Romney turns into a political Bill Murray and just starts popping up randomly everywhere?

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  10. Tillman says:

    Why does anyone care? He lost the election, I don’t give a crap what he does anymore.

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  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Not entirely in my little town which is basically Republican central although Obama carried it narrowly………On the Romney sighting this doesn’t sound awfully Mormon like behavior…….Boxing in Sodom and Gomorrah…..Perhaps he was expecting it to stay there.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James H:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Mitt Romney turns into a political Bill Murray and just starts popping up randomly everywhere?


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  13. MarkedMan says:

    These “random” photo-ops seem… a bit off. Is Mitt really thinking of running again? He feels he needs to be seen as an everyman?

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