MANNY Pacquiao—to his fans, Filipinos and foreigners alike - is more than an athlete. The Pacman is mythic. An idol. Charisma is the only word to describe the Filipino icon’s hold on the sports’ fans imaginations, on the boxing public’s.
But while fans want him back in the ring Pacquiao is engrossed fighting other battles.
“I am very busy with the campaign for Jinkee (his wife who is running for Vice Governor of Sarangani) and Roel (his brother Rogelio who is seeking the lone Congressional seat in General Santos City). I believe the campaign is going well for both of them,” he said.
Something the fans probably won’t begrude him, as of the moment, Pacquiao said he is busy spending time with his family, a chance that rarely came since rising to world prominence.
Boxing is awash with Pacquiao stories. Even after he lost to Mexican arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez late last year, articles of sympathy filled the sports pages, the air and social media as to when he is fighting next, who and where.
The feeling is mutual. Pacquiao, too, thinks of the fans – both believers and haters, who have been at a loss as to what is in store next to their idols, except for statements coming from his seemingly disoriented spokespersons, handlers and plain kibitzers.
In a long distance telephone conversation with this reporter, the 34-year-old father of four told boxing denizens their wait won’t be long as talks about his next ring appearance is nearing.
“Tell them to be patient. Bob Arum and myself have been talking and will continue talking. What is definite is they’ll see me fight again come September. Not April nor immediately after that as speculations are going. Tell the public that it won’t be long before I make them happy again when I fight,” he said.
“Tell them, too, that I appreciate very much their concern over my well-being when I lost by KO to Marquez and during the debate whether to fight in April. I treasure their concern and prayers that I recover quickly from my knockout loss. I want everyone to know that I am well and fully recovered. Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers.”
As to who will his next dance partner is, Pacman wouldn’t tell except to say that Marquez looks to be the first choice by his promoter owing to the fifth fight’s commercial value.
“Marquez, according to news reports, doesn’t want to fight me for the fifth time. It actually is up to him,” he said. “Me? Well, everybody knows I’ll fight anyone. I am not scared of anybody. And that is the reason why boxing fans like me so much. I never avoid anyone. I don’t choose easy fights. I will fight anybody, anytime, anywhere.”
Pacquiao said he believes he has already cemented his legacy in boxing, in particular, and in sports, in general. He is the only man on earth to have won eight world titles in as many weight divisions, a record many believe will stay till the end of this millennium.
“If he doesn’t want to fight me then I don’t want to fight him either. So be it. It’s that simple. He says he doesn’t want to fight me because he won our last fight? Well, I am still ahead in the tally of our last four fights. I won two, lost one and dres one,” said Pacquiao.