FINALLY, we are almost there. If this were a climb up to Mt. Apo, if not Mt. Data, we are close to the summit.
Happily, that is the score in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
First, they met at the sidelines of the hard court where Miami and Milwaukee were playing a regular NBA game.
Manny Pacquiao was there as an avid Miami fan, reinforced by the fact he is friends with Erik Spoelstra, the Filipino-American coach of the Heat.
Manny and his wife, Jinkee, weren’t supposed to be there. But their flight to New York City was one of several cancelled due to snowstorm that hit the Big Apple and its neighboring cities in New Jersey, Maine and other Northeastern states.
And why were the Pacquiaos in Miami?
Well, Pacquiao served as one of the judges in the just-ended Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Florida. Miss Colombia’s Paulina Vega won over Nia Sanchez of the U.S., with our very own MJ Lastimosa landing in the Top 10 among 87 beauties from as many countries.
And why was Floyd Mayweather Jr. also present at the Miami-Milwaukee game (Milwaukee won, by the way)?
He has been a Miami fan for years.
Call it divine intervention if you will, but the chance encounter bodes well for both fighters, whose fight has been the most awaited in boxing history.
Negotiations for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight began in 2010 but for reasons that are mostly crazy in nature, it got torpedoed time and again.
Well, if you ask Pacquiao, his ready answer has always been: “I will fight him anytime, anywhere.”
At first, Pacquiao wanted a 50-50 purse split. But soon, he relented to a 60-40, saying: “To prove my sincerity, I can even fight him for free.”
What buttressed their fight to materialize, following that accidental meeting at the basketball game where Mayweather made the historic move of doing the honors of approaching Pacquiao at halftime for a handshake, a hug and a swap of cell phone numbers, was that Mayweather later visited Pacquiao at his Miami hotel.
They talked for one hour or so—Pacquiao proving to be a great host in typical Filipino hospitality.
Now, if the two encounters would not lead to that May fight in Las Vegas, it would be like saying Digong Duterte is not my bet for president of the republic in 2016.