President Pacquiao? King Of The Ring Mulls Philippines’ Top Job

Pacquiao, Roach At Loggerheads Over Reunion
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 19: Manny Pacquiao smiles throughout a press convention at Gotham Hall in preparation for his upcoming match towards Adrien Broner on November 19, 2018 in New York City. Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

 

A two-year break from boxing has left Philippine legend Manny Pacquiao “hungry” to get again within the ring for what may very well be the final combat of his storied profession — and a warm-up for a presidential rumble.

The eight-division world champion and beloved nationwide hero may have tens of hundreds of thousands of followers from the boxing-mad archipelago in his nook when he faces American Errol Spence in Las Vegas on August 21.

Pacquiao’s comeback combat is an opportunity to show his mettle at 42 — an age when most boxers have already hung up their gloves — and rating a profitable payday earlier than a broadly anticipated tilt on the presidency subsequent 12 months.

“I’m a politician, all politicians are dreaming for the higher position,” the elected senator instructed AFP in his southern hometown of General Santos, the place he’s coaching.

“I’m going to announce (my decision) in the proper time, maybe after the fight.”

Pacquiao’s star energy in a rustic famed for its celebrity-obsessed politics would put him in a robust place within the presidential race.

But it might not assure victory.

A public skirmish between Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte over the latter’s dealing with of the South China Sea dispute with Beijing and official graft might erode help for the boxer.

Duterte — who’s allowed to serve just one time period as president — rivals Pacquiao for the affections of many Filipinos and has even flagged a potential run for the vice presidency in 2022.

Until not too long ago, Pacquiao was a high-profile backer of Duterte and his controversial drug struggle, which International Criminal Court prosecutors wish to examine for the alleged illegal killing of presumably tens of hundreds of individuals.

Pacquiao instructed AFP he would proceed the crackdown, however in a “proper way” that doesn’t abuse “the rights of individuals”.

Asked if he would defend the present president from felony fees if he grew to become chief, he mentioned: “All of us are bound to the law.”

Pacquiao would face a formidable opponent if Duterte’s daughter, Sara, have been to run for the highest job.

A latest ballot confirmed the Davao metropolis mayor — the identical place her father held earlier than he took energy in 2016 — with essentially the most voter help, nicely forward of Pacquiao and different potential contenders.

But quite a bit can change between now and the October deadline for candidates to register.

“Right now my expectation is that (Pacquiao) runs, but not as Duterte’s chosen successor,” mentioned Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford.

“But it’s the Philippines so it’s very unpredictable.”

Decisions on whether or not to retire after the Spence combat or run for the very best workplace are in God’s fingers, based on Pacquiao, a father of 5.

Religion looms massive within the lifetime of the boxer, who grew to become a religious evangelical Christian a few decade in the past after giving up his playboy way of life.

He even depends on his religion — and vitamin C — to beat back Covid-19 whereas he considers getting vaccinated towards the lethal illness.

“I always keep in trusting God because he’s the one who give me the ability to accomplish all those things,” he mentioned.

– ‘Idol of everyone’ –
Pacquiao is deeply admired within the Philippines for his generosity and hauling himself out of poverty to change into one of many world’s best and wealthiest boxers.

Dozens of locals wait exterior his health club in downtown General Santos within the hope of catching a glimpse of the rags-to-riches hero — and receiving some cash — earlier than he climbs into an olive inexperienced Hummer to drive again to his manicured compound.

“Pacquiao is the idol of everyone in this city,” mentioned Meme Dipundato, a 40-year-old tricycle driver.

“What I really like about Pacquiao is not his boxing but his act of helping the poor.”

But the fighter has stirred controversy since coming into politics in 2010 — first as a congressman after which a extra high-profile place within the Senate — supporting the loss of life penalty and describing homosexual {couples} as “worse than animals”.

He guarantees to drag no punches if he have been to change into president — beginning with sending “hundreds or thousands” of crooked politicians to a purpose-built “mega prison”.

“There are so many problems in this country caused by corruption… there’s no economic growth and development, there’s no improvement,” he mentioned.

– ‘I feel so hungry again’ –
For now, Pacquiao mentioned his thoughts was targeted on the looming showdown with fellow southpaw Spence, the 31-year-old unbeaten unified welterweight world champion.

Pacquiao, who boasts a 62-7-2 win-loss-draw document, will probably be combating for the primary time since he beat Keith Thurman in July 2019 for the WBA welterweight title — which he misplaced throughout the coronavirus pandemic on account of inactivity.

He will fly to Los Angeles this month the place he will probably be reunited with veteran coach Freddie Roach.

In the meantime, he shadow packing containers and spars with long-time affiliate Buboy Fernandez at his Pacman Wild Card Gym.

“I believe 110 percent that Manny is going to win. His stamina is still there,” Fernandez instructed AFP.

Hanging above the ring, together with photographs of his bloody fights, are biblical proverbs on the significance of “self-discipline” and religion.

Despite his age and lengthy absence from the ring, Pacquiao mentioned he was undaunted.

“It’s good for me to have (a) rest for almost two years,” he mentioned.

“I feel so hungry again and excited (for) the fight… I feel that same feeling that I had when I was at 22, 23 years old.”

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President Pacquiao? King Of The Ring Mulls Philippines’ Top Job

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