Pacquiao’s toughest 2 gambles up
By Al S. Mendoza
MANNY Pacquiao has two gambles coming up.
Are they both winnable?
The first gamble puts Pacquiao on the defensive.
He’ll be fighting someone too hungry for a win he’d do anything to succeed, including probably selling his soul to the devil in exchange for victory.
I refer to Mikey Garcia, a tough, four-division world American champion of Mexican descent.
Although nothing has been inked yet on the dotted line, people close to Pacquiao say that from a scale of from “one to 10” on the fight’s possibility, the score “is most likely 10.”
Plans for the fight’s probable venue are either Dubai or the United States.
July is being targeted for the 12-round bout for the WBC world welterweight crown now held by Garcia.
But Pacquiao has the WBA version of the crown although he was recently declared “champion in recess” because of his inactivity for one year.
Which is a crazy decision by officials manning the organization since practically all of sports was grounded to a halt for almost a year by the pandemic.
But be that as it may, Pacquiao seems undaunted in his return to the ring after 19 months of rest—rust being his No. 1 enemy now more than anything.
Pacquiao’s last fight was against Keith Thurman, whom he beat on points in Las Vegas, Nevada, one year and seven months ago in July 2019.
Age is also fast catching up with Pacquiao.
At 42, he is nine years older than Garcia, who, at 33, holds a near-flawless record of 40 wins against only one loss, with 30 knockouts.
Pacquiao has won 62 times, lost seven and drawn two. But he has beaten practically all the best in his era, including scoring 39 KOs.
In his planned 72nd fight, Pacquiao isn’t only pitted against Father Time but against a much formidable foe: the specter of defeat could derail everything that he has painstakingly earned in a lifetime of tortuous struggles against gut-wrenching hunger and gnawing poverty.
Garcia has been vociferously taunted as having scored many of his wins against lesser-known opponents.
Thus, Pacquiao now offers him the chance to finally pocket a scalp of note—no less a living legend.
A win will cement Garcia’s place in history, no matter that Pacquiao is arguably near over-the-hill by now—if he isn’t painfully there yet.
But the truth is, both are dream-driven.
While Garcia is gunning for his niche in the pantheon of icons, Pacquiao has his sights on a real throne befitting a king—at Malacanang Palace.
All indications now point to Pacquiao’s inexorable aim to run for president in May 2022. A loss to Garcia could cause a crippling dent to that ambition.
So that at all costs, Pacquiao must defeat Garcia. And next retire as a champion, ready to occupy that exalted House by the Pasig.
People hate losers.
People can only love winners.
By now, Pacquiao knows that by heart.
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