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By Manny Piñol

Manny Pacquiao's Options, Part II: The Venue
Fri, 23 Jul 2010

Home Sweet Home, Manny

Manny Pacquiao versus Antonio Margarito in Mexico? In Monterey, California? In the Cowboy's Stadium in Texas?

Wake up guys. There is a better venue, if not the best venue. It is a place that will make Manny Pacquiao feel more comfortable and inspired as he will be cheered by a million live spectators - the champion's country of birth, the Philippines.

The sad thing is that since the Philippines is a poor country, nobody has even thought of bringing those megabuck fights featuring the greatest Filipino athlete back home to where Manny Pacquiao started chasing his dreams of greatness.

Now that Pacquiao's career is inevitably coming to an end, when the curtains are certain to fall to close this great human drama in the field of sports, it is only morally and sentimentally right that the boxing icon's last two or three fights be held in the Philippines.

Who even among ordinary boxing fans around the world heard of the Cowboy's Stadium or Thomas and Mack Center or MGM Grand before Manny Pacquiao made these places part of a great boxing history by fighting there?

Manny Pacquiao fighting Antonio Margarito, or Shane Mosley, will certainly bring this poor country to the conciousness of sports fans around the world and change their perspective of a country which for so long was known as the source of domestic helpers and nannies, not that these jobs are something to be ashamed of, or contract workers in the desert of the Middle East, or nurses in the hospitals of America.

A Pacquiao-Margarito fight covered by HBO and beamed to every country around the world will certainly bring focus to this country, who under an inspirational leader President Noynoy Aquino, is working hard to find its rightful place in the world of nations.

And just for a change, let us stage the fight taking into consideration what is more comfortable and convenient for Filipino sports fans.

For so long, we have agonized over the fact that everytime Manny Pacquiao fights, churchgoers will have to miss the Sunday services because the fight is staged on a Saturday evening in the West and could only be viewed here on a Sunday morning.

What the heck, the greatest boxing champion is a Filipino. Let him perform for the Filipinos. Hold the fight on a Friday night and let the Western viewers see it on a Sunday morning. For once, let us dictate the terms and let the world know that the Philippines is the home of the great boxer in the history of mankind.

Then, let the Philippines make history. Let us bring in one million live spectators to witness the fight in an open park, maybe the ULTRA or Rizal Ballpark.

With each of the one million spectator paying P1,000 which I believe is affordable to an ordinary boxing fan, then the promoters will earn a live gate of P1 billion.

I guess many of our top Filipino business tycoons -- Ambassador Danding Cojuangco, Manny Pangilinan, Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Lucio Tan, Enrique Razon and many more sportsminded corporate executives -- will only be more than willing to take part in making history.

Manny Pacquiao should remember: There's no place like home. A home, after all, is what Manny has dreamed of all his life.

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