IF Sen. Manny Pacquiao is no longer in circulation in the Senate and no longer commenting on some national issues, this is because he is already in Los Angeles for his final preparation for his fight on Nov. 5 (Nov. 6 in the Philippines) with Jessie Vargas at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This time around, there isn't much buzz about the fight, which says a lot about the quality of the bout and the waning popularity of the “Pambansang Kamao.”
I already wrote that I won't be booking the Pacquiao-Vargas fight on pay-per-view this time around for a number of reasons, foremost of which is that I frown on his politics. But I also do not like his boxing professionally while being a neophyte senator. Our experience of him boxing while working as a congressman was not good. He ended up getting the “lawmaker with most absences” distinction.
Besides, he is disrespecting both boxing and his senatorial job. The odds are high that Pacquiao would win against Vargas considering his talent and the quality of his opponent. But I would not also be surprised if he loses. It's not only that Pacquiao is already old, he didn't train well for the fight, balancing his preparation for the bout with his Senate job, while Vargas is focused on it.
It's possible Pacquiao skills, no matter how deteriorated, are still superior when compared with that of Vargas and thus he could eke out a win. But if he continues doing this, time will come when he will be defeated and gets old overnight. That happened to former world champions; that will happen to him.
But let's not talk about boxing for a while. Pacquiao tried to make good as a neophyte senator and we have been given a glimpse of what he is as a politician in his first four months in office. And frankly, I don't like it simply because he is fast becoming a traditional politician. I don't know who is advising him but he has not exhibited progressive principles. He is conservative in religion and politics.
Remember that gay slur that had him getting flak not only from the local LGBT community but also globally resulting in the giant firm Nike dropping him as an endorser? Recently, he is campaigning vigorously for the restoration of the death penalty, propping up his stand with verses in the Bible, despite his supposed Christian beliefs. I mean, I don't see anything promising in his principles to make me believe he can be a really good senator and potential presidential bet.
Pacquiao ran for senator under the slate of former vice president Jejomar Binay. But when Binay lost, he was quick to jump to the camp of President Rodrigo Duterte, making him a balimbing like most politicians in the country. Worse, he made it appear like his heart was really for Duterte even if he was in the Binay camp. “Noon pa man hanggang ngayon ang suporta ko na kay Digong,” he claimed.
And he seems bent on outboxing the other Duterte supporters in the Senate. In the hearings on extrajudicial killing by the Senate committee on justice and human rights, Pacquiao gained the distinction of being the one who sought the ouster of the former committee chair, Leila de Lima, from her post. Of course, for Duterte fanatics, Pacquiao's recent actions are heaven-sent (pun intended).
I take it that since his meteoric rise in the global boxing scene, Pacquiao has always been surrounded by trapos. There are, for example, former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, who was visible in and around the ring in almost all of Pacquiao fights, and former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. The Pacman seems to be learning politics from the “best.”
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ twitter: @khanwens)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2016.
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