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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1 or 2 more fights for Pacquiao? 'It depends,' says Bob Arum

Austin, Texas - A few minutes after Edwin Valero's convincing knockout stoppage over Antonio Pitalua (at "Lightweight Lightning" this past Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center), hordes of fans attempted to get pictures with Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum. As Bob came over to me, I was able to ask him a few questions regarding the outlook for Venezuelan knockout artist Edwin Valero, who has now improved to 25-0 with just as many KOs.

To be sure, I was also interested in his thoughts regarding Manny Pacquiao's outlook beyond 2009 . . .

Marv Dumon:

"Bob, how many fights does Manny have left? Is it one more, or two more fights?"

Bob Arum [chuckling]:

"It depends . . ."

Marv Dumon:

"On what?""

Bob Arum [chuckling]:

" . . . on whether he wins or not.""


. . . on whether Manny wins or not? Hmm . . . let me process that. The wheels started churning.

What does THAT mean?

If Bob meant . . . if Manny wins his last few fights or not . . .

If Manny loses any of his last two or three fights, there could very well be a strong motivator to get back into the ring - to redeem and restore his country's pride and honor. As Pacquiao is only interested in mega-fights, there are chances he could lose to either Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Floyd Mayweather, Jr. To be sure, he faces elite-caliber opponents. The last two are more than capable of giving Pacquiao a very hard test.

Should Manny lose to any of these fighters, perhaps - just perhaps - Bob Arum is suggesting that we may see a continuation fight and / or rematch beyond 2009. That would make sense. It seems plausible.

Let's entertain two scenarios - Pacfanatics, please close your eyes. The following may give you nightmares and ulcers.

What if Marquez beats Pacquiao in their third fight, and claims that he has always been the legitimate pound for pound fighter? Will Manny let those statements permeate around all corners of the world? Or will he - and his fists - do something about it?

What if Floyd Mayweather beats Manny in their "fight of the decade" bout, and the Pretty Boy taunts the humble Manny as nothing more than a "paper champion." Could Pacquiao reasonably let those comments circle around? Or will the competitive, fanatical juices get going in order to extract the pound for pound crown away from Mayweather?

If Bob meant . . . if Manny wins the election or not . . .

Will Manny Pacquiao be victorious in the May 2010 (presumably) Congressional elections in his native Philippines?

In this case, is the ballot . . . better than . . . an opposing boxer's . . . punches?


Manny has repeatedly stated his intentions of retiring from boxing after 2009. Such hiatus allows Pacquiao to focus on campaigning for the May 2010 elections, presumably as a Congressional candidate. Greater effort on his part may result in a victory this time around, as Manny lost the first time around in 2007. Pacquiao's desire to retire from boxing seems very credible, and such intentions have been conveyed numerous times especially within the past six or so months.

Scenario # 1:

Bob is playing promoter - that is, afterall, his role in the 'hurt business' of boxing. Perhaps there is added interest, or additional curiosity, toward his client should there be a possibility of an extended career beyond 2009 or 2010.

Manny may afterall retire once the May 2010 electoral campaigns commence. Bob providing hints that Manny will be back in boxing - win or lose, politically - can surely incite hordes of fans to beg their pugilist idol to return to the ring. Hints of Rocky Balboa anyone?

Aside from Filipino and international fans pleading their case to Pacquiao, Mexican and other (non-Mexican) fighters can also continually challenge Manny to fight them. Pacman, afterall, provides large money fights.

Scenario # 2:

Manny, after a two-year absence from the ring, will miss boxing. Given the rough treatment he recently received over the May 2nd television rights debacle, the media and a few fans can turn on him with the slightest - perceived - mistake. Retirements and un-retirements are common in sports. Perhaps the Pacman will eventually long for the peak recognition that he gets once inside the squared ring. Or, he might altogether miss putting on those gloves, miss having the challenge of going after an elite fighter.

Scenario # 3:

Would Manny need to replenish his financial resources due to charitable contributions, personal, and electoral expenses? Certainly, Manny has earned tens of millions of dollars given his boxing status and accomplishments. Given his big heart, Manny has also given back millions to his community. Elections are expensive in the Philippines. Elections will be even more expensive should Manny seek office higher than that of a Congressman (such as Senator). Certain financial outcomes are possible.

We know of Mike Tyson - a man who earned over $300 million in earnings - who is now in financial straits. And Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had millions of dollars of jewelry stolen from his home, and who reportedly owes the Internal Revenue Service over $6 million in back taxes.

Certainly, there is no reason to anticipate financial shortcomings when it comes to Manny Pacquiao. The icon may be very generous, but he remains calm, level-headed, and humble, in addition to seemingly retaining common sense when it comes to business dealings. The Filipino hero, however, has high aspirations beyond boxing. Boxing is his best way of funding those aspirations, and perhaps in manifesting them.


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