Manny happy returns for birthday boy Shariff

HM Shah and Muhammad Ali

Shariff Shah is looking forward to his belated birthday gift – a picture with Manny Pacquiao.

The PJ-Luxe Boutique Hotel owner is set to meet the Filipino on Thursday to recreate a similar image taken of his late father Tan Sri H.M. Shah and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali (pic above).

“This means the whole world to me,” said Shariff, who turned 43 on July 5.

“I was born when Muhammad Ali fought Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur in 1975. I still have a picture of Muhammad Ali with my dad taken at The Hut and I plan to recreate the image with Pacquiao.”

Shariff made a plea to an acquaintance, who was part of the organising team, to get a picture with Pacquiao as it would complete his family portrait and it would be the “best birthday gift” ever.

Pacquiao will fight Argentina boxer Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

Shariff Shah
Shariff says he is lucky enough to get the break.

Shariff’s dad owned the iconic Shah’s Village Hotel where The Hut – a famous dance club – was located. He played an instrumental role in the development of Petaling Jaya in the early 1970s.

The prominent businessman was also known for many firsts – the first Malay to be involved in film-making, the first to start a drive-in cinema and the first to open a motel in Petaling Jaya, among others.

He also travelled to the Philippines and had even taken a picture with President Rodirgo Duterte when he was the Mayor of Davao City.

H.M. Shah passed away in 2014 at the age of 93.

“My dad was a boxing fan and we used to watch Pacquiao fight. Pacquiao is my idol.”

Shariff said his mother, Puan Sri Sarina Shah, 70, was elated when told of his Thursday gig.

“Mom was super excited. There was even a few tears in her eyes as I’m recreating what dad did in 1975.”

“It was a long shot to begin with but it worked out. I’m so happy.”

Shariff said he would tell Pacquiao of his father’s history and their interest in his boxing career.

When told that Duterte will be in town for the bout, Shariff said: “What would be even crazier … is if I could take a picture with Duterte just like dad. Now that would be amazing!”

Duterte and HM Shah
Shariff hopes to meet Duterte (left), just as his father H.M. Shah (right ) did in Davao City, as seen in this picture taken several years ago.