BOXING superstar Manny Pacquiao will be returning to the Philippines on Monday after poor ticket sales forced the cancellation of his Sunday concert in Waikiki, Hawaii.
Pacquiao, who defended his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Ghanaian challenger Joshua Clottey last March 13, will be aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 103 from Los Angeles, California.
Malacañang and Pacquiao’s patron, former Environment Secretary Lito Atienza are already planning a grand welcome for the boxing icon.
He said the motorcade on Monday would cover a bigger territory than previous parades for him, to allow more fans to congratulate Pacquiao on his latest victory.
Atienza, who is seeking the mayoral post in Manila, said the areas up for consideration are Tayuman, Sta. Ana, Pandacan, Tayuman and San Andres.
“The plans of the parade have yet to be finalized,” he said in a text message.
Earlier, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Senator Manny Villar said he is set to give his party-mate a hero’s welcome once he gets back to the Philippines.
But Villar said details of the blow-out party have yet to be ironed out.
For his second try in politics, Pacquiao will run against Roy Chiongbian, a top executive of Eastern Shipping Lines for the lone district of Sarangani. He joined the country’s oldest political party on his 31st birthday in December 18 last year.
In an interview with popular sports channel ESPN, Pacquiao said he chose to fight this March to give him more time to focus on his political campaign.
"One of the biggest advantages I have is that every fight is an opportunity to give honor to the Philippines. The Filipino people don't just give me their support; they also give me their strength, their pride and their love. Running for Congress is a way for me to repay them," he said.
Reports said Pacquiao will get at least US$12 million for the fight, excluding pay-per-view (PPV) and endorsement shares.
Top Rank honcho Bob Arum said the pay-per-views are not out yet because they only have HBO PPV totals from the satellite services.
"All we have is the satellite numbers and they are very strong," Arum said. "We're not giving out any numbers yet because we have very little (information) from the cable systems, which you need. The cable numbers are very fragmented, so it could be a few days. But the number that you can't go any lower than is 650,000 for the fight. That is the worst it would do, but it should be a lot higher."
The Pacquiao-Clottey fight is the third largest crowd for an indoor fight in boxing history with 50,994 fans in attendance. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)