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News  


Back to the US for Manny?


PhilBoxing.com




It appears likely that with his career resurrected, Manny Pacquiao will make a triumphant return to Las Vegas for his next fight, tentatively on April 12, and the opponent could be WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley.

Pacquiao, who turns 35 on Dec. 17, ended a string of 14 straight fights in the US, 11 in Las Vegas, when he trounced Brandon Rios to capture the vacant WBO International welterweight crown in Macau last Sunday morning. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum explained that the move to Macau wasn’t just to avoid hefty tax payments by Pacquiao in the US but also to fuel interest in Asia, particularly in mainland China.

If plans don’t miscarry, Pacquiao will fight twice next year. WBO lightwelterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov has pulled out of the candidates’ list out of respect for his stablemate. Provodnikov is trained by the Wild Card team of Freddie Roach, Marvin Somodio and Gavin McMillan. Bradley is the top candidate because he is unbeaten, holds the WBO belt and is promoted by Top Rank. The knock on Bradley is his unexciting style diminishes his marketability. .Juan Manuel Marquez is another candidate but the Mexican lost to Bradley last October.

There is reportedly a Mexican investment group bidding to stage the fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight in Mexico City but the deal stipulates a $10 Million purse for “Dinamita.” Marquez may be pricing himself out of the Pacquiao stakes. Assuming the financial terms are settled, Roach said he wouldn’t mind a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez encounter. Marquez was on the verge of collapse when he landed an unexpected right hand flush on Pacquiao’s face to score an upset knockout last December. The loss was Pacquiao’s second in a row and raised doubts on his ability to return to the big stage. The win over Rios erased those doubts.

Writer Thomas Hauser, one of the doubters, said a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight is an option for the future but said, “the Pacquiao Era appears to be over (as) commercially, a touch of ‘Pacquiao fatigue’ has set in … Manny can still sell out the MGM Grand Garden Arena but this time, he sold it out later than he usually does (for the fourth Marquez fight).” Hauser added, “Manny isn’t a shot fighter, he’s still capable of performing at a high level but in recent outings, he has seemed diminished as a consequence of the natural aging process and possibly, a loss of commitment and focus in training … one now has to wonder what this brutal one-punch knockout will do to his ability to take a punch.”

Hauser’s apprehension was thoroughly addressed by Pacquiao last Sunday. Pacquiao proved that at his age, he’s far from finished. The ultimate showdown with Floyd Mayweather remains a goal. And Hauser must now realize that the Pacquiao Era is still very much alive. As for ‘Pacquiao fatigue,’ the impressive performance against Rios has rekindled his widespread global popularity to negate notions of overstaying his welcome.

The Macau bill featured fighters from China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Three Filipinos saw action. Pacquiao won on points while superfeatherweight Harmonito de la Torre and superwelterweight Dan Nazareno scored knockouts. The event involved several other Filipinos, including Freddie Roach’s training assistant Marvin Somodio who worked the corner in four fights, Pacquiao’s second Buboy Fernandez, referee Danrex Tapdasan, judges Salven Lagumbay and Edward Ligas, Gerry, Dodie Boy and Jonathan Penalosa and Philip Garduque who were in Nazareno’s corner, Aljoe Jaro, Dr. Nasser Cruz and Dong Mahinay who were with Hong Kong bantamweight Rex Tso, Renie Gabawa, Dexter Tan and Jim and John Mananquil who were in De la Torres’ corner and ringside physician Dr. Redentor Viernes.

Macau’s proximity to the Philippines gave Filipinos the opportunity to watch Pacquiao live in a major pay-per-view bout. Two regulars of Pacquiao’s US fights, however, chose not to fly over----Rep. Lito Atienza and Fr. Marlon Beof who has celebrated Holy Mass the morning of every fight since 2004. Among those who were at the Cotai Arena were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Sen. Tito Sotto, Rep. Rey Umali, Rep. Amado Bagatsing, Rep. Bing Leonardia, Isabela Vice Governor Tonypet Albano, Davao City Mayor Rudy Duterte, former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis (Chavit) Singson, former Rep. Hermilando Mandanas, former Rep. Noli Fuentebella, former Rep. Romy Jalosjos, Tony Tuviera, Dingdong Dantes, Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto, Manny Paner and Daisy Romualdez.

Lawyer Romy Macalintal, who was at ringside, said Pacquiao held back from hurting Rios by not going for a knockout. “The human and compassionate side of Manny prevented him from going for the kill in the final round,” he said. “Surely, what’s the use of hurting your opponent when you know you’re leading by a mile without any danger? Rios is lucky that Manny has the heart to know when to stop hurting his opponent where there’s nothing more for him to prove. Manny intentionally stopped or opted not to deliver the ‘Yolanda’ punch to prevent a total devastation of an already devastated Rios after he allowed himself to be Manny’s punching bag for the entire duration of the fight.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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