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Not Boxing…Box Office…..

maypacAt 04.00 BST Sunday 3rd May, 2015 the Pacman will finally meet the Bagman in Las Vegas. A fight long overdue, which over the past six years has been continually put off because of childish and petulant behaviour (mainly from Mayweather) and unsporting gamesmanship.

My views have been well known about this money-making debacle over the years, indeed I have made several blog posts about it. Of course this is a welterweight fight, and it is indicative of the sport that the “greatest fight of the century” does not involve a heavyweight.

Indeed, I doubt anyone reading this, or anyone not seriously following the sport, could name the current heavyweight champion of the world. There may even be two, depending on which federation claims the title. Such is the dirge of great boxers and great personalities, it is the welterweights (higher than lightweight but less than middleweight) who have captured the public’s imagination. Mayweather is 5ft 8in, and Pacquiao two inches shorter, but between them they have demonstrated that physical stature is meaningless in Vegas – its hype not height that counts.

It is the richest fight in history, and both will walk away (win or lose) with a purse to fund a third world country for a year. The venue, the promoters, the agents, the marketeers, and the cable companies have all contrived to milk it, and and all have contrived to ensure a massive pay day.

Neither boxer ever fights outside Vegas. The days of the “Thriller in Manila” are over. Today boxing means box office.

I’d like to see Manny win, not because I am biased, but I want him to win because fundamentally he is a Filipino made good – he represents the street fighter from a poor background, is humble, doesn’t flaunt his wealth, has a strong faith, and has a passionate belief that he can make a difference for his fellow countrymen be it in politics or philanthropy.

He is in essence a symbol, and an aspiration to a generation of young people who believe that success can be rewarded, and the reward can be passed on to the less fortunate. He also holds the hopes and dreams of a nation that needs him, and he in turn has not abandoned them through his fame and fortune. Contrast that with Mayweather.

Mayweather hasn’t a single moral bone in his body, and he has demonstrated it in numerous occasions. He flaunts his wealth, is a bling king, and represents unadulterated excess. So what? Why should we expect sportsmen to be role models? Why should we expect Mayweather to be anything more than he is – a successful boxer? How he spends his money, or flaunts it, is really none of our business. Surely it’s not up to us to judge him?

Yet this fight tonight is not just a fight – as financially reprehensible and exploitative as it may be – it is a contest between two very different people who represent two different cultures, two different idealisms, and two different attitudes.

It’s not a battle of the heavyweights, but it’s a battle nonetheless. Both will win financially, yet only one will win the crown. Lets hope that he who wears the crown, wears it with dignity. The only man with dignity in the ring tonight will be Manny Pacquiao – so win or lose – that cannot be taken away from him!

Good luck Manny! Floor Floyd!


May 2, 2015 Posted by | Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, The Philippines, USA | , , | 1 Comment

The Pacman is a Congressman…..

It was his intention all along. The richest boxer in the world had been highlighting his intention to enter Philippines national politics for at least the last three years. 

His drive is fuelled by his desire to make a difference, and as I remarked in earlier posts here and here with the on-off-on fight with Floyd Mayweather, two more different opponents could not be envisaged.

He still intends to fight Mayyweather (possibly in Las Vegas in November), which has to be a world first because he will be the only politician to fight inside a ring as well as outside of it. The fight, if it is realised, will be the most lucrative ever and could gross $200m. He is the world's sixth highest paid athlete and worth $40m.

Not bad for someone who began his life in a shanty town living in a cardboard box. But Manny Pacquiao is a boxer not satisfied with bling, nor the luxury that megabucks bring. Bring on the bling may be Mayweather's mantra, but its certainly not the Pacman's.

There are few countries which revere there celebrities so much that they will vote for them in the hope that they will be the peoples champion. One ex-president of the Philippines riding on such a wave was a famous film star, but unfortunately Joseph Estrada didn't cut the mustard.

But before criticism is levelled at the electorate, it's worth remembering that the USA are equally influenced by such euphoric worship – think Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Whether the Pacman can rise to the occasion is anyones guess, but in the ring my money would be on him to demolish his opponent.

One day this guy could become President. In the cutthroat world of politics and power he'll need more than a decisive knockout to be a winner, and certainly more than ten rounds to remain standing.

Politics is a ruthless sport where the gloves must be off. Lets hope he is also a bare-knuckle fighter and can hold his corner.


June 28, 2010 Posted by | Boxing, Current Affairs, Politics, The Philippines | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mayweather – Pacquiao. On or Off?

In my last reference to this fight I remarked that the two boxers could not be further removed from each other. Not because of ability, but lifestyle.

Mayweather's camp is insisting that the Pacman has a drugs test 30 days prior to the March 13th bout. Pacquiao considers this an affront to his dignity. He's more than willing (as is usual) to have a test immediately before and after, but regards this request to random testing an attempt to undermine him and nothing more than gamesmanship.

Never once has the Filipino champion failed to conform to the sports regulations on testing, and even the Nevada State Athletic Commission who have regulated ten of his last fourteen fights insists he is "as clean as the tears of a saint".

His promoter Bob Arum accuses Mayweather of attempting to sabotage the fight, and playing fast and loose with the drug testing rules. Rules, he argues, that are defined by the Commission, not the boxer. "Mayweather is afraid of getting his ass kicked" was his withering suggestion.

This fight would be the richest ever, generating $200m, with both earning a split of half that.

Putting the pot aside (if such a thing is possible) both fighters already have more than enough money, although the American appears to spend it like water for personal gratification, whilst the other adopts a more benevolent, even philanthropic approach to his wealth.

This current spat does not give a positive impression, and highlights the negatives of a sport already viewed with cynical greed and exploitation.

If Mayweather truly believes in his ability, then he should demonstrate it by retracting his extreme request and adopting a more sportsmanship persona.

Throw enough mud around and some will stick. Pacquiao's refusal to acquiesce could indicate to some that he had something to hide, even though there is nothing.

Dirty tricks are emanating from the Mayweather camp, and I suspect that as long as Pacquiao – a man of honour – holds his ground, he will come out the winner, with dignity intact, having fought or not.

December 29, 2009 Posted by | Boxing, The Philippines | , , , | Leave a comment

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao

The WBO title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, soon to be confirmed for March 13th, could not be contested by two fighters more further removed from each other.

Whilst both have made millions of dollars, the former displays his wealth with more grandeur than an Essex chav wrapped in fake Burberry, whilst the other fights for more than his corner and appears genuinely concerned about the poor plight of many sections of his Filipino countrymen.

Having followed the Pacman with interest over the length of this blog to date, my admiration for him grows in equal measure. Pacquiao is a role model of immense stature. His sense of purpose, respect for his family, concerns for the poor, and desire to enter politics to have an impact on the world around him are all qualities which are the marks of men who stand out over and above those whose moons orbit the shallow worlds of superficial celebrity and fame.

Mayweather Junior cites his hobbies as throwing around piles of cash into nightclub crowds, and driving down to the Las Vegas Strip after training to frequent casinos that must revel in the opportunity to part him from the occasional wad. Gambling emporiums love wealthy losers who have more money than sense.

He's also very keen to show off his mansion, fleet of cars and jewellery to any camera crew passing. He rarely travels from his driveway without thousands of dollars which some bull-necked bodyguard will carry for him. A YouTube video shows him counting out $1 million in cash from a bedside cabinet and stuffing it in a bag.

He's expected to make at least $20 million from the contest by just turning up! Such is his arrogance that he regards the fight as a mere formality, and dismisses his opponent as good, but already defeated. Of course this is regular boxing hype-speak, but Pacquiao's previous opponents adopted the same hyperbole whilst he responded with dignified contempt.

If Floyd is a role model then it is the wrong sort. He represents everything negative that wealth and fame can bring. In his country where African-Americans and Hispanics are the most dispossessed, he could have projected a healthier image.

Perhaps we expect too much from our sports stars. In defence of Floyd at least he is not a hypocrite. Maybe if multi-nationals like Gillette had used him for a close shave instead of Tiger Woods, they may not be in such an embarrassing position today. Particularly as their other star Tieri Anri displayed suspect gamesmanship by handling a ball which knocked Ireland out of the World Cup.

Perhaps the advertisers should stop selling their products on the backs of athletes who they believe represent Olympic idealism – Skill, fair play, sportsmanship, and discretion. Put anyone on a pedestal and they're likely to fall off.

But back to the big fight. The Pacman is unique. I want him to win. I want him to demolish his opponent. If that happens, then I know the best man won!

If he doesn't, then I also know the best man lost. Whatever the result – he's the true champion!

December 10, 2009 Posted by | Boxing, The Philippines | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pacman Eats Up His Opponents….

Manny Pacquiao marches on ruthlessly and is without doubt the best pound for pound boxer of his generation, possibly ever. Pacquiaocottopic

This time, in Las Vegas, it was Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto who failed to stop the fighting machine and the stage is set for a super-charged combat with the American Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I've blogged about this Filipino boy wonder before, the last time when he trounced Britain's Ricky Hatton back in May. It was painful to watch, and only lasted two rounds. Although that fight was also in Vegas, I was fortunate to be in the Philippines at the time, and remember vividly the euphoria and expectation of his countrymen.

Sure, I had divided loyalties, but after seeing the ruthless execution of his opponent, it was clear that the Pacman deserves his reputation. Now, fighting at his heaviest ever – 145 pounds – this is his seventh title in successive weights – a world record!

Pacquiao is fast, very fast, and powerful. It is this combination of speed and pneumatic-power which demolishes his opponents. Both Cotto and Hatton have remarked about this, and in the latter case, it was devastating.

Yet it's not only the opponents who suffer, the fans do too, and on Sunday (Manila time), three of them, in the excitement of watching their hero, suffered heart attacks – one fatally.

But there's much more to this man other than boxing. If everything can be believed, he is a loving son, very religious, adopts a high moral code, and uses his considerable wealth to benefit the poor. He has funded hospitals, communities, and expressed a desire to enter politics.

He is regarded as a national hero, and a superb icon and example for the young.

Filipinos love their celebrities, and there is no doubt that if Pacquiao decided to run for President, his opponents would be out for the count – even before a single punch was landed! 

November 16, 2009 Posted by | The Philippines | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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