PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao sprang a birthday surprise for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a courtesy call on the premier on Thursday (July 12).
The Philippine senator turned up at the Perdana Leadership Foundation complex with a birthday cake and a present for Dr Mahathir.
He appeared very happy when meeting and wishing Happy Birthday to the prime minister who turned 93 on Tuesday (July 10).
Both of them then spent half an hour in a closed-door meeting.
When they emerged from the meeting, Dr Mahathir showed the awaiting press the birthday present he received from Pacquiao, a pair of yellow boxing gloves that he'd slipped onto his hands.
Pacquiao said he had been admiring Dr Mahathir, describing him as a "good man and good leader of the country".
“This courtesy call is to thank him (Dr Mahathir) for the support of the Malaysian government for the (boxing) event this coming Sunday and also to have a good relationship with the Prime Minister,” he added.
Pacquiao is scheduled to face the Argentinean World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in a “Fight of the Champions” at the Axiata Arena Bukit Jalil on Sunday (July 15).
Pacquiao said that he had sent an invitation to Dr Mahathir to watch the fight alongside Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Dr Mahathir told me that he would try his best to come. I am so ready for the fight and I would like to invite the Malaysian people to watch it on Sunday," he said.
Pacquiao added that it is a honour and privilege to have the fight here in Malaysia.
It is going to be a good fight which will be attended by thousands of boxing fans,” he said. - Bernama