PACQUIAO WATCH: His own American Dream
By Edwin G. Espejo
03 Oct 2008
ON his own, Manny Pacquiao is already a big name in boxing.
But his December 6 date with Oscar de la Hoya, boxing world's biggest cash cow, has him crashing into the world of big league celebrities that has eluded the Filipino boxing icon despite his recent ring successes.
De la Hoya is one of America's poster boy athletes whose recognition and name recall go beyond the square ring and into the mainstream way of life.
He is a celebrity even outside his chosen sports discipline - the quintessential product of the great American Dream.
Born to Mexican immigrant parents, de la Hoya captured America's imagination with his good looks, photogenic smile and gold medal performance at the Barcelona Olympics.
De la Hoya practically resurrected interest in boxing following the disgraced departure and retirement of Mike Tyson.
Manny's current six-city tour to promote his fight with de la Hoya is giving him a once in a lifetime to hit the big jackpot that who knows where it will bring him.
He may be still on the outside looking in but a foot of his is already on the other side of the door.
Why? Manny can now even afford to give Oscar a rebate of his PPV share if he gets to put one over and defeat Golden Boy eleven days before he celebrates his 30th birthday.
Filipinos have always been magnanimous in victory.
Ask Manny, he is no penny pincher in doling out "balatos" from his winnings.
Make a good account of himself and Briton Ricky Hatton looms in the horizon. Show the world that he is up to the task and Pretty Boy Mayweather Jr. could be goaded to come out from his retirement cocoon and give boxing its biggest money fight next year.
Those are only few of the bonanzas that await Manny in taking Oscar's challenge which was originally his own calling.
But there is also danger that is laying in ambush when Manny returns to General Santos after his bout with de la Hoya.
Win or lose, the vultures, crocs, leeches and all parasites imaginable already couldn't wait to get their hands in Manny's pockets and their mouths on his ears.
How many are goading Manny to again run for public office because they also want to join the bandwagon?
How many more will force Manny's hands to sign checks for properties he has not seen or will not be able to see because he simply is too trusting?
How many will throw their weight around to form a brick wall around the Filipino champ because they want no other to share the spoils?
Manny should look at Tyson's way, nearer home to Lando Navarette.
Manny's own pursuit of the American Dream is already on hand.
It is for him to lose not atop the ring but outside where his ferocity is only matched by his gullibility.
To be forewarned, they say, is to be forearmed.
Top photo: Manny Pacquiao (R) and American boxing superstar Oscar de la Hoya pose at the ferry on their way to the Statue of Liberty where they opened up their 6-city promotional tour for their Dec. 6 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Photo by Miguel Salazar.
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