GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 July) — With Manny Pacquiao and his family spending summer in Europe and probably already heading to Jerusalem, all has been quiet in the Land of Pacman.
All he is committed to, for now, is that he is fighting on November 11 against an opponent none of his camp can even identify yet.
The Bradley fallout has left many wondering if Pacquiao still has competitive opponents out there except for the one in jail that still continues to duck him.
Longtime lawyer and confidante Franklin ‘Jeng’ Gacal Jr agrees that finding one that will whet the appetite of boxing fans is getting harder by the day.
The welterweight division has dried up with so many would be contenders falling by the wayside. The latest was Victor Ortiz who quit after breaking his jaw in a fight against Josesito Lopez last Sunday. Perennial sparring partner Amir Khan also lost to Lamont Peterson, who in turn has been found positive for banned substance recently.
Timothy Bradley, to whom Pacquiao lost a controversial decision, simply isn’t attractive enough for Team Pacquiao, according to Gacal. Giving him a rematch will not only dignify one of the lousiest stickup decisions in boxing in recent years. It would also be financially unattractive purse-wise. This early, Top Rank’s Bob Arum has already hinted that Bradley would get a bigger purse and a better slice in the PPV pie. The Pacquiao-Bradley fight, however, did not make one million PPVs. It was only the second time since the 2008 Oscar de la Hoya fight that a Pacquiao ticket failed to hit the one million PPV buys (the other was the 2010 Joshua Clottey bout), also the last time Pacquiao fought three times in a year.
A fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez has been floated but other than expecting another close fight, there is nothing left for Pacquiao to prove against his arch nemesis. Two wins and a draw in three close fights should be enough to close that chapter.
At this point, it is also better to forget the dream Floyd Mayweather Jr. match. It sure will rival any fight of the decade in the history of boxing. But what can you do if the other guy just simply puts one hurdle after another to avoid Pacquiao? If it comes, it comes. If not, then woe to Mayweather.
Although Pacquiao has noticeably slowed down in his last three fights and failed to register a knockout victory beginning 2010, he is still the top pound for pound boxer and elite fighter who broke de la Hoya’s will and battered the faces of Miguel Angel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
Pacquiao and his team has two months to plot the fighting congressman’s short-term boxing plans and eventually his future as a boxer.
2013 is election year in the Philippines and Pacquiao has a handful of local concerns. Chief among them is to decide whether he will continue to be a wallflower in the House of Representatives or be the action man that he is in Sarangani as candidate for governor. With so many leeches and sycophants around waiting for the stamp of approval as his choice candidates and facing prospect of seeing allies running against each other, Pacquiao has plenty of political distractions waiting when he returns from a well-deserved break. Then, he will also have to figure out how to help his brother win a seat in Congress as the latest in nearby General Santos is that Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio is no longer running for re-election but will trade places with Rep. Pedro ‘Jun’ Acharon Jr. It will be a formidable battle for his favorite sibling, who on his own is a village chief of Apopong.
Pacquiao has chosen a multi-task career while still enjoying unparalleled popularity as a top of the line sports athlete. He will eventually come at a crossroads where he has to decide which one he will give up. Boxing and politics do not really mix well. Both are fulltime jobs.
Perhaps the quiet time he is having now will give him the foresight which one he will give the ultimate calling.
Meantime, do not be deceived by the quiet front. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.com)