Let me make clear that I don’t mean to simplify the last several years of Filipino politics – quite the opposite.
I don’t know about Filipino politics by any means and even though I’m American born with Filipino parents, I never lived in the Philippines or ever knew the names of the Presidents. I first went to the Philippines when I was five years old, back in 1975, under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. I recall something from my childhood about Aquino being assassinated and how members of my family, especially my mom, were bothered that he was killed. And then there was a coup – flashbacks of images of Imelda Marcos and her deposed husband landing in Hawaii. Malacanang Palace and her closet of shoes. Then Corazon Aquino, wife of Aquino coming back into the Philippines and becoming President. I’ve heard that a movie star, Joseph Estrada was elected. Then, another woman, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, gets elected.
Just from this, you should get the idea I don’t know what it means to be a politician in the Philippines nor Filipino politics in general. However, I will bring up that Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, the People’s Champion of the Philippines, is a newly elected official, serving as a congressman for the district of Sarangani.
According to reports and like his fights, Pacquiao was elected due to a landslide victory over a wealthy and politically well-entrenched clan of the province. Pacquiao got 120,052 votes while his political rival, Erwin Chiongbian, got 60,899 votes (Inquirer.net).
For boxing and Pacquiao, at least for now, boxing will take a back seat as he settles into the responsibilities of what being a politician means.
However, as a boxing writer, I’m actually more concerned with what it means for boxing and Pacquiao’s boxing career. Will it mean defeat in his eventual showdown with Mayweather? Will he give up boxing altogether and focus on his political career? And the answer is don’t know, don’t know … possibly defeat, maybe, maybe not. Plug in any of these answers and the only that really knows is Pacquiao, maybe Freddie Roach, maybe Alex Ariza, maybe even Buboy. It really doesn’t matter. Pacquiao remains back in the Philippines and the boxing world is just waiting.
Fresh off the Mayweather – Mosley fight, boxing fans, promoters, writers, etc – mostly everyone interested in combat sports, are anxiously waiting if whether the fight is even on the table anymore. When Mayweather got rocked by Mosley, it was clearly a case of Mayweather showing weakness to a degree, a tendency, an open opportunity that showed he has a chin like every other boxer. I saw it in Mosley’s eyes that he had shown the boxing critics that he had the chance against Mayweather, but didn’t take it and looked for it all night.
By contrast, Mayweather took Mosley’s punches as a wake-up call to step up his ability and basically responded with a “no one can beat me” style that took the fight from Mosley. Mayweather’s adjustment after his wake up round worked and resulted in a 12 round unanimous decision.
To date, Pacquiao has successfully managed to multi-task other things around his boxing career. For a man that has dedicated his entire life to becoming the champion that he is, it’s only natural that his activities, as his fame and fortune have increased, to develop a life outside the ring.
We all remember Pacquiao’s singing on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. He has appeared and starred in his own film, “Wapakman” which according to reports, did not bring in the financial return. My mom visited the Philippines and said he’s all over the place. But now, as he is on top of the world on the other side of the world, there is a gap in his success that many are filling with doubt and fear that his boxing career may end on the note that his career has been based on the possible use of PED’s. Horrible.
Like any story of any athlete these days, the less than human flaw, and set up for possible failure is always there, but for athletes, it’s the end. There is no going back now due to the accusations. And I’ll say it, Pacquiao is not refusing to test because something is going to be found, I think he’s refusing to test under Mayweather’s conditions.
As HBO’s 24/7 revealed, the style of testing that both Mayweather and Mosley underwent was by no means just a few tubes being filled to check cholesterol. I get blood taken from me twice a year, maybe, and I about pass out from looking at the technician trying to find a vein and then trying to fill two to three tubes. Sorry, just got lightheaded, but for a fighter, during the course of training, dropping weight, keeping weight on, constantly moving, it would cause me to be a little wary of doing anything un-natural, including the drawing of mass amounts of blood that may affect training and performance in the ring.
But back to the business and political life of Pacquiao.
I think it’s great that he is truly showing that he has a responsibility to his people and country. His rags to riches story is one that I am not unfamiliar. Life in the Philippines is very harsh with extreme poverty and an infrastructure not necessarily helpful to its citizens. Because of my family background, albeit raised American, the Philippines is in my heart and Pacquiao’s story is truly about a now successful man giving back to the country and people that need help and have supported him in his boxing career.
As Pacquiao’s boxing career may be taking a backseat to these political aspirations and promises to help the people he represents, boxing can wait, at least for now. Pacquiao is no fool and is the current pound for pound champion. If it weren’t the case, all of us boxing fans and even Mayweather, wouldn’t be waiting so patiently for his next move. He needs to fight Mayweather in the Philippines, and he can win, I’ll say that much, but it isn’t a bad thing either that he chooses to put that aside, including the money and prestige, and help his people and country, in which case, a career outside the ring and his retirement from boxing may not be such a bad thing.