General Admission

Pacquiao heads into a dangerous fight

By Al S. Mendoza


FIRST, the good news.

Manny Pacquiao has been healthy for the last 10 months or so.

That’s because he has recovered from that bitter 12-round points debacle to Australian Jeff Horn in July 2017.

Because of that, the fighting senator has virtually made a 100-percent attendance in his Senate commitments.

Now, the bad news.

Pacquiao will fight again.

His encounter with Lucas Matthysse is set on July 15.

Why Pacquiao has chosen Kuala Lumpur for his 68th fight has become sort of a puzzle.

Matthyssee is from Chubot, Argentina.

Kuala Lumpur, never known for world boxing, has never hosted a world boxing match since the Ali-Bugner fight in the Sixties.

Instead of KL, why not hold it in Manila?

Isn’t Pacquiao the main sponsor of the fight through his own MP Promotions (MP as in Manny Pacquiao)?

Oh, well, he is promoting the fight together with Oscar De La Hoya.

Where is Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s American promoter since 2006?

Have Pacquiao and Arum gone their own separate ways?

Arum and De La Hoya have not been in good terms for the last dozen or so years.

In 2006, it was De La Hoya who stuffed an envelope into Pacquiao’s pocket containing half a million dollars.

That was just days before Pacquiao would fight Erik Morales in the third match of their famed trilogy.

After Pacquiao had stopped Morales in the third round for a final 2-1 edge, Arum called Pacquiao to his room at Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas and next handed the Filipino world champion an envelope bulging with dollars.

“There’s one million bucks inside that envelope,” said Arum to Pacquiao.  “Return the money given to you by De La Hoya and I’ll forget everything.”

No one can argue with, fight, Arum.

He’s been in the beak-busting business longer than anyone.

Not even the infamous Don King, the Ali-Frazier promoter in the Thrilla in Manila, could outlast Arum, 84.

Thus, since that Wynn Hotel meeting, the Arum-Pacquiao partnership has been etched in granite—or so it seemed.

Almost unilaterally, Pacquiao has ceased dealing with Arum, starting with the Matthysse date three months from now.

Not only that.

Pacquiao, as I write this, has also kicked out Freddie Roach, his legendary American trainer for almost the last 16 years.

Taking over Roach’s chores is Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood chum from Bicol.

Pacquiao has claimed he didn’t fire Roach; but the champ’s slew of chuwariwariwaps keep spreading the word that Roach is out—finally.

Their supposed rift started in the Jeff Horn bout, when Roach supposedly gave instructions that didn’t sit well with Pacquiao’s fight plans.

Now you know why I said Pacquiao fighting again is bad news.

His camp is in shambles.

How the hell can he focus for the fight?

And look at this:  Pacquiao will face a reigning world welterweight champion in Matthysse, whose 39 wins include 36 knockouts.

You are 39 years old and you are up against a 35-year-old knockout artist, does that not make you an easy picking?

If that’s not scary enough, what is?

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