The announcement is out. Sen. Manny Pacquiao left the country en route to Las Vegas sometime last week to begin his formal training for his upcoming welterweight unification bout on Aug. 21 versus Errol Spence of America.
I genuinely hope and pray that he wins although it is my belief that this time, he is fighting for the wrong reason.
It used to be every time Pacquiao fights against a big-time contender, I would cheer him with pride because I know that he fights for country and honor. I know that deep in his heart, every uppercut, every jab, and every left hook he delivers is dedicated for the happiness and satisfaction of the Filipino people. “Para sa iyo, ang laban na ito” had become an anthem each time he thrusts the dagger and slays his opponent. He is, after all, the “pambansang kamao.”
Not this time, though. I think that Pacquiao has ceased to become the nation’s pambansang kamao. Instead, he is turning out to be the “pambansang kandidato.”
Among the possible candidates for president in next year’s national election, Pacquiao was the first to confirm his candidacy. Then, suddenly, he is on an anti-corruption crusade against the President he has sworn to support and love. Well, we need people who can expose corruption in government in the same manner that we need people who will make our lives better. Is Pacquiao the man?
Just as he was about to make a breakthrough in his exposé, just when we were about to believe in his crusade, he hastily left the country for a more pressing concern. What could be more pressing than the affairs of the Philippines which, should he win as president, will be his primary concern?
President Rodrigo Duterte was as much exasperated as all Filipinos that Pacquiao could not heed the challenge to stay, substantiate his allegations, and stand by his promise to reveal the truth instead of pursuing a fight that is but a momentary balm to what ails the country. Not for Pacquiao. At this point in his political career, his forthcoming fight means everything to him – win or lose.
Understandably, the bout against Spence is more of a political move than for anything else. Pacquiao needs to drum up his popularity by vanquishing a young squire so that he can enhance or even ensure his victory. He is doing it for politics. He is demonstrating an astute characteristic of a Filipino politician by adding to his “pogi points.” He is well aware that more than anything else, it takes popularity to win. He can always deny by saying that the fight against Spence was scheduled before he confirmed his candidacy. Aw c’mon Manny, that is what politicians do. They deny to high heavens only to relent in the end.
My brother-in-law totally disagrees with me. He says that “who knows, Pacquiao may make a good president.”
By now, we should be finished speculating about our candidates by relying on tsamba. We should have learned by now that to trust our leaders on the mere expectation that “who knows?” is a dangerous precedent. For sure, the “who knows?” mentality is the reason why we are what we are.
Still, for the love of sports and for the sake of preserving the legend of the Pacman, I will cheer for him to win his fight against Spence. After that, I think he needs to be on his own.