Manny Pacquiao KOs Opponent to Win Seat in Philippine Congress… Now What?
If you’re a boxing fan, it’s slightly bewildering to think the next installment of HBO’s “24/7” series may feature Manny Pacquiao decked to the nines in a suit and tie, pacing through the corridors of a congressional building in Manila while trying to rally partisan support for a last-minute vote. Yesterday the current WBO welterweight boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, won a seat in the Philippine Congress after a “landslide” election, making this scenario now one step closer to being a reality. In June, Manny will be sworn in as an elected representative of the province of Sarangani on the island of Mindanao. He’ll begin his duties as a public official in July, which could make for the international political equivalent of the “Thrilla in Manila.” According to FanHouse, Congressman Pac Man is now the first and only pugilist ever to earn a political seat while still lacing up the gloves and duking it out in the ring. By earning 90,000 votes out of a possible 125,000, his margin of victory was almost as unanimous as his victory against Joshua Clottey a few months ago.
Whether you love Pac Man or simply want Floyd Mayweather to pummel him into submission, one thing is clear: this ’80s ballad-singing superstar was born a champion. After the jump, I’ve outlined six notable talking points you need to know about Pacquiao’s political career, including what it means for the much anticipated bout with Mayweather.
- Manny lost his last attempt at office in 2007. However, yesterday’s landslide victory was against Roy Chiongbian, a wealthy 61 year old whose brother, Erwin Chiongbian, had previously held the congressional seat for over 30 years. That family’s wealth stems from a large rubber plantation operation on Sarangani. According to Fan House, Manny offered Chiongbian two ringside seats to his next fight to concede the campaign by 9:30. He declined the offer.
- Pac Man told Fan House the victory was “the most personally satisfying win of his life.” Manny’s promotor, Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing, was also pleased with the results. Arum told Phil Boxing, that “winning this election for me, and certainly for Manny, is the greater thrill than any fight.” He adds, “It reminded me completely of the Oscar De La Hoya fight when everybody before the fight said it is a mismatch and De La Hoya is going to kill him. And it was a mismatch but it was a mismatch the other way because Manny destroyed De La Hoya.”
- Fan House also reports Pacquiao put up more than $1 million (U.S.) to challenge Chiongbian in the election. There’s no doubt he’s the biggest celebrities in the Philippines and Joe O’Neill at Bleacher Report is speculating the victory could pave the way for a Pacquiao Presidential campaign in the Philippines.
- There’s still no date set for a title bout with Mayweather. However, Top Rank’s Bob Arum hinted he expects Pacquiao to enter the boxing ring again on Nov. 13. Yesterday, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told the Associated Press discussions for the fight could begin as early as today, particularly with the election out of the way. Roach also claims Pacquiao’s congressional duties won’t change anything. “They’ll just announce him as Congressman Manny Pacquiao, that’s all.”
- The issue of contention and negotiation for Pac Man/Mayweather will remain testing. Mayweather continues to lobby for Olympic-style blood testing leading up to the date. Pac Man, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be tested two weeks before the fight. He claims the testing process leaves him weak.
- In the event a fight is announced, Roach and Arum claim Manny will still have plenty of time to train. However, Pacquiao’s new job raises important questions whether he can strike a balance between life as a public servent in his home country with preparing mentally and physically for the most important fight of his life. Popular boxing blog “The Queensbury Rules,” weighes in:
“Pacquiao has proven time and again that he isn’t bothered by distractions. More like he thrives on the chaos. This is a whole different level of chaos, though. Not to beat the point to death, but seriously — being an elected politician is a massively demanding job, in terms of both time and stress. If ever a distraction is too much for Pacquiao to handle, this is it.”