Pacquiao-Horn return bout in Manila?
By Al S. Mendoza
(Cheers to Bacolod’s May Sison-Uy for having been chosen one of the outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs in ceremonies held on Thursday at the PICC Pavillion in Manila. You more than deserve it, Mareng May! Your hubby, Pareng Ramon, is very, very proud of you.)
WHO wants to see Manny Pacquiao fight in Manila?
Of course, every Filipino would say, “I do.”
Pacquiao does, too.
In fact, Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo had also said the same.
To back her stand, Wanda held a press conference announcing straightforward that Pacquiao will fight Jeff Horn in Manila in December.
Wanda, the younger sister of my compadre-columnist Ramon Tulfo, has a venue for the fight already: the Philippine Arena.
Found in Bulacan and owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Arena can seat 50,000—more than double that of the 18,000-seat Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“Three times they have approached us about the fight,” said Ricky Alegre, the Tourism assistant secretary. “Of course, we are more than willing to help. It is for the good of the country, not only tourism-wise but also economics-wise. Just imagine the impact of the fight worldwide. It’d be like we are hosting the Miss Universe again.”
But right after Wanda and Ricky had held their press conference announcing the Pacquiao-Horn fight to be held here in December, Bob Arum immediately stepped in.
“Of course, the Pacquiao-Horn fight cannot be held in Manila,” Arum said. “The contract will not allow that.”
Arum, Pacquiao’s American promoter since 2006, said Pacquiao and Horn had signed a deal for a rematch to be held in Brisbane, Australia, should Horn win.
Horn defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision some months back in Brisbane.
In fairness, it was Eric Pineda, Pacquiao’s adviser, who went to Secretary Teo not just once or twice but three times to offer the Department of Tourism to co-promote the fight.
And while Arum is correct about the live contract stipulating Brisbane as the venue of a rematch, that is not absolute.
Meaning, that can still be changed, depending on the wishes of both Pacquiao and Horn.
If both fighters would so desire to have it in Manila, boxing rules would relent.
As I keep saying here, there is no such thing as final in boxing.
Thus, should Arum decide to choose Manila, no problem there.
The only kink I see in the Pacquiao-Horn fight not happening here is when government officials in Brisbane would say “no!”
Like Horn, Brisbane officials have a say.
My take is, if we are serious in having Pacquiao’s return bout against Horn staged here, Wanda, Arum and Pacquiao himself should formally request Horn and Brisbane officials for it.
They might even have to fly to Australia to validate their serious intentions.
Better yet, they bring a letter of intent addressed to the Mayor of Brisbane, duly signed by President Duterte.
For, how can one refuse a sitting President? Especially in the mold of a Duterte?