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Boxer Manny Pacquiao launches a men's fragrance

May 4, 2011 |  6:00 am


Exactly one week before he's scheduled to step into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to battle Shane Mosley, pugilist, politician and casino pitchman Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao stepped behind the velvet rope at a Los Angeles boutique to take a swing at the celebrity scent market.

Dressed in a trim-fitting navy blue suit, light blue dress shirt, Burberry necktie and carrying a fedora (?), Pacquiao arrived at the Ron Robinson Fred Segal boutique on Melrose Avenue an hour and a half late for the fragrance launch (according to his reps, the Pac-Man had spent the day training at a nearby gym), posing briefly with boutique owner Ron Robinson and two sign-carrying faux ring girls in tank tops and hot pants before heading inside for a meet-and-greet with fans patiently waiting to get his autograph on their recently purchased bottles of his new fragrance. 

Called MP8 Scent of The Champion (a reference to the boxer's eight world boxing titles in eight

weight divisions) the fragrance was developed by Neil Harris of Harris Fragrances and perfumer Chris Buccellato of Custom Essence, and it's described as having "top notes of bergamot and lemon, middle notes of lavender, vetiver, nutmeg and sage, and base notes of sweet musk, vanilla and amber."

With the the lingering fumes of another celebrity scent still fresh in my olfactory memory, I didn't exactly have high hopes for a pugilist-promoted perfume, so it was a pleasant surprise when I got the chance to spritz some around the office for the obligatory sniff test. (On a side note, as a result of such testings, the Image staff does inhabit the best-smelling cube farm in the building -- a top note of printer's ink, middle notes of citrus, rose and tobacco, a base note of fresh-cut grass and a hint of deadline desperation. Someday we'll try to bottle it.)

The fresh citrus scent makes the first impression: smooth, clean and in your face (in keeping with the boxing metaphor, I wish I could call it a "punch of citrus," but it was a lot more nuanced than that -- a jab, perhaps?). That's followed by a woodiness instantly reminiscent of English Leather cologne that, within a minute or so, gives way to a heavy but not unpleasant muskiness. 

Manny perfume More important, the MP8 fragrance found favor with the women in the office (one co-worker even quipped -- unprompted -- "It smells like a winner!")

It's a complex fragrance profile, for sure, but one that's wholly suited to Pacquiao. Not only is he the first boxer in history to win 10 world titles -- and the first one to win in eight different weight divisions -- he happens to be a sitting member of the 15th Congress of the Philippines (he was elected in May 2010), a recording artist (he's got two studio albums under his belt) and can be spotted bobbing and weaving through TV ads for San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.

And he seems ready to add to his list of accomplishments; when we asked Pacquiao what he was setting his sights on next (beyond the May 7 Mosley bout in Las Vegas, of course) he was quick to respond: "More MP8 stuff," he said. "[including] one for women."

When asked what such a fragrance might smell like, Pacquiao seemed to struggle to find the right words. "Same thing as MP8," he said. "Kind of fresh but also with sort of, um ... love."

"Love?" we asked, making sure we didn't accidentally mishear "lavender" in the din of the crowd. The Pac-Man cracked his trademark wide grin, nodded his head in the affirmative, and turned back to the throng of fans.

I guess they don't call boxing "the sweet science" for nothing.

MP8 Scent of The Champion by Manny Pacquiao eau de toilette, $55, currently exclusive to Ron Robinson at Fred Segal Center, TK Melrose and online.  

-- Adam Tschorn

Upper photo: Manny poses on the red carpet at an April 30 event celebrating the launch of his new men's fragrance. Credit: MP8

Lower photo: MP8 Scent of The Champion, which is sold packaged in a simple bottle and box bearing a fist logo. Credit: MP8