Saturday July 21, 2018

Mendoza: Pacquiao’s boxing diplomacy

MY FRIENDS ask: “Al, why is Manny Pacquiao building a boxing academy in China?”

I said: “What’s wrong with that?”

“Why not in the Philippines?”

Pacquiao’s answer during a press conference on the matter in Beijing: “In the Philippines, we don’t have a problem (producing good boxers).”

He has a point there.

We love boxing so much that many of us hold boxfests very often, not only in Metro Manila but in the countryside as well.

Many businessmen support the sport with passion so that boxing stables are found all over the land.

Tony Aldeguer has been the leading light on this for ages.

Tony’s ALA Promotions has been discovering, nurturing and honing Filipinos for world-class fights.

Tony has already produced several world champions. His son, Michael, has accepted the baton and in Michael’s inherited stable now are world title-holders Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Meliton “The Methodical” Milendo. The unbeaten Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo might soon grab global fame, not to mention “Prince” Albert Pagara.

Until public service snatched him, Manny Pinol had his Braveheart Promotions steeped in scouring the grassroots for potential would-be world champions.

His being a workaholic in developing boxing’s big time dreamers has put Pinol in good stead as President Duterte’s Agriculture Secretary since July of 2016.

Boxing’s loss is government’s gain.

One cannot totally fault Pacquiao for his boxing pitch in China, which he started exploring in 2014.

Because of China’s sheer 1.4 billion population alone, Pacquiao could be knocking on another financial windfall if things turn out right. The hitherto untapped Chinese market aka massive crowds drawn to the sport will definitely spell unbelievable revenues.

And isn’t Pacquiao’s ploy proving to be a knockout insofar as building bridges of friendship between both nations is concerned? In the first place, who doesn’t want firm, friendly relations between our country and China?

For, surely, once the boxing academy has set sail, it will make Pacquiao not only a great fighter of all time but also a master at world diplomacy as well.

Thus, if Nixon had his pingpong diplomacy in China in the 70’s, Pacquiao has his own boxing diplomacy almost half a century later. What a guy.