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Basketball stars help Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao did some training with a heavyweight for his next bout: Charles Barkley.

Barkley and fellow Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller visited the boxing megastar in camp before his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, the subject of a 30-minute special that will air Thursday on TNT after the network’s NBA doubleheader.

“Charles & Reggie: Toe to Toe with Manny Pacquiao” features clips in which Barkley and Miller spend time with Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif. – Barkley even having to steady himself while holding the heavy bag as Pacquiao hits it.

“As a boxing fan, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Barkley said.

He and Miller, both TNT analysts, also are shown shooting hoops with Pacquiao, a basketball fan who last year delayed his ring entrance so he could watch the end of a Celtics playoff game.

That was the night Miami beat Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals and Pacquiao suffered a shocking, controversial loss to Timothy Bradley.

The Celtics play the 76ers on Saturday before Pacquiao’s fight with Marquez at the MGM Grand. We’re guessing he’ll watch that one on his DVR.

■ BELLY BUSTER – Barkley once famously brawled with fellow TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal during an NBA game, and last spring the duo engaged in a televised shirt-off showdown to highlight their fight against obesity.

A Weight Watchers spokesman, Barkley had visibly shed a few pounds, but Shaq looked shredded – thanks to a six-pack that makeup artists had drawn on his stomach.

“Hey, man!” Barkley shouted at O’Neal as cameras zoomed in on his midsection. “There’s some stuff going on over here.”

Replied Shaq: “I just got my tattoos covered up.”

“Being fat is no joke,” Barkley said. “I know we’re having fun tonight, but we’ve got an obesity problem in this country. There are too many fat asses out there.”

For an easy solution to obesity, we turn to Rodney Dangerfield character Thornton Melon, who said in “Back to School,” “If you want to look thin, you hang out with fat people.”

■ DEREK EATER – On the subject of fat, the New York Post ran an unflattering photo of Derek Jeter on Friday above the headline “Derek Eater” that appeared to show the Yankees captain had packed on a few pounds while recovering from ankle surgery.

The subhead read, “Rehabbing Jeter takes fork in the road to recovery.”

The 38-year-old shortstop and accomplished ladies’ man laughed off the report Monday in an ESPN Radio interview.

“I thought it was pretty funny,” Jeter said. “I guess there’s a lot of things you can do with a picture. The funny thing is we were just talking about, the day or two before then, people were telling me I lost a lot of weight, and then two days later I’m on the front page of the New York Post. They had a little fun with it.”

Jeter then ate several copies of the newspaper before returning to his steady diet of models and starlets.

COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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