Sunday, March 14, 2010

PacMan heads for political ring

Monday, 15 March 2010 00:00

Orignal Story:

His latest victory over Joshua Clottey now in the books, Manny Pacquiao faces a much tougher fight in the political ring.

The 31-year-old Filipino who dominated Clottey on Sunday is hoping to make the transition from boxer to politician when he begins campaigning next month for a congressional seat in the Philippine national election. He is running under the Nacionalista Party of Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar.

If elected on May 10, Pacquiao would represent the poverty-stricken province of Saranggani on the southern island of Mindanao.

“I am going to take a one week rest and go back to the Philippines and start campaigning for my political career,” Pacquiao said after beating Clottey by a unanimous 12-round decision at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. “I want to help the people especially in my place.”

Ask when he would fight again, Pacquiao said, “I don’t know. I am going to decide that after the elections.”

Despite his fame, Pacquiao has tasted defeat in this arena before. In 2007 he lost his first bid for a seat in Congress and faces an equally entrenched opponent this time around.

Pacquiao was so confident of beating Clottey that he scheduled a post-fight party across the street at the Texas Rangers ballpark where he planned to sing and entertain hundreds of guests.

Wearing dark glasses to hide the swelling around his eyes from absorbing hundreds of punches over 12 rounds, Pacquiao told reporters at a post-fight news conference that he plans to open the show with his own version of the Mexican folk song “La Bamba.”

Philippines celebrates
Filipinos nationwide on Sunday rejoiced over boxing hero Manny Pacquiao’s latest victory, broadcast live from Texas after officials vowed that the Philippines would be spared from perennial blackouts.

Special live coverage of the 12-round fight between Pacquiao and Ghana’s Joshua Clottey was broadcast without a hitch after energy officials vowed to prevent power shortages that would possibly interrupt the event.

“If people don’t get to watch Manny Pacquiao, it’s big trouble. That is a national catastrophe,” Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes was earlier.

After the fight, there were no signs that Manila had suffered any of the daily outages that have afflicted the capital and the southern Philippines for several weeks.

In an interview with dzBB radio station after the fight, Pacquiao said: “I owe this to all my fellow Filipinos, most of all to my family.”

President Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman also celebrated the victory, with her spokesman releasing a statement saying: “We join the nation in jubilation over Manny Pacquaio’s latest conquest. Once again, he has proven that the Filipino’s talent and determination set us apart.”

As in previous Pacquiao fights, the streets in major towns and cities were nearly empty as millions of fans were glued to television sets and radios to follow the fight live.

Live showings of the fight were shown in theatres and sports bars while some officials arranged to have widescreen showings in local gymnasiums.

For many observers, the only remaining foe left for the Filipino champion was the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. who, like Pacquiao, has been tagged some by boxing pundits as the “best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”

“The world wants to see Manny and Floyd, no doubt about it,” said Boyet Sison, host of Hardball, a popular talk radio show, remarking that this would be the perfect way for Pacquiao to cap his career.

Pacquiao and Mayweather were expected to fight on March 13, but negotiations unravelled over the American’s demands for unprecedented pre-fight blood testing for performance-enhancing drugs.

The Filipino champion’s mother, Dionisia Pacquiao, however, said she would prefer that her son retire from boxing.

“I tell my son, ‘please stop. What happens if something goes wrong with your body?’ I prayed to God that nothing happens to him,” she said in an interview with dzBB.

She brushed aside talk about a big-money match with Mayweather, saying: “Why should we try to chase after the biggest prize? We have enough. God has given him enough blessings already.”

Asked about his mother’s comments, Pacquiao said: “We will talk about that after I get home.”

Overcoming obstacles
Villar, Pacquiao’s Nationalista Party party-mate, on Sunday lauded the victory of Pacquiao as proof that perseverance can overcome any obstacles.

“Ang karangalang paulit-ulit nang ibinigay sa ating bansa ni Manny Pacquiao ay patunay lamang na walang balakid kailanman ang maaaring humadlang sa taong masidhing nagpupunyagi, isang taong may sipag at tiyaga [The honor being given by Manny Pacquiao time and again is proof that a person who is industrious and perserveres can overcome even the most difficult obstacles],” he added.

Earlier, Pacquiao said he would join Villar’s campaign sorties after his fight with the Ghanaian boxer.

Hailing him as prime example of “Galing at Talino”, Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats standard-bearer Gibo Teodoro also congratulated the Filipino champ on his latest victory.

Teodoro said Pacquiao’s latest victory showed to the world what dizzying heights the Filipino can attain with the right mind-set, discipline and faith in God.

The former Defense secretary added that similar successes in sports in the future are well within reach of the Philippines, if given the right support from the private sector and the right programs by the country’s sports leaders.

“To attain more gold medals in the field of sports, I feel we should concentrate our resources on a few key sports, like boxing, and set up a well-managed program which focuses all our efforts on these sports,” he said.

Newly appointed Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit likewise extended his congratulations to Pacquiao, who is a reservist in the military.

“He displayed exceptional skills, stamina and spirit in his bout reflective of a trained and well disciplined soldier,” he added.
Jefferson Antiporda And AFP

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