Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pacquiao the person....

First and foremost, I admit it. I am a fan of Manny Pacquiao the boxer. Whatever you say, Pacquiao has to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world today, and he has proved it many times over, the last time via a scintillating victory over the Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya.

But I have never been a fan of Manny Pacquiao the person. Take away the impressive boxing skills, the millions of dollars/pesos of winnings/endorsements/earnings, and you don't really get much left.

I wasn't really surprised when I heard the news that Pacquiao jumped shipped over to ABS-CBN with regard to the rights to air his succeeding fights, starting with the match with Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton scheduled to take place this May 2.

For one, he has never really struck me as a man of his word.

It doesn't seem to bother him that he has an existing contract with Solar Sports lasting until May 2011. He also has an exclusive contract with GMA, which, in essence, prohibits him from appearing on other networks. Despite this, he has jumped ship to GMA's main rival, ABS-CBN.

This really isn't the first time that Pacquiao exhibited a seeming inability to live up to his commitments. A couple of years ago he signed contracts with two promoters, Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, leading to a tug-of-war of sorts between the two promotional outfits.

What is it with this person anyway? He signs contracts, accepts huge sums of money, then turns his back on his commitments.

According to the grapevine, he opted out of Solar Sports because it failed to pay him P60M in fees accruing from his last fight with Oscar De La Hoya on time. It was also reported that he wanted ABS-CBN to cover his congressional run in 2010 because allegedly "ABS-CBN has a better signal in Sarangani". Even if true, it doesn't seem to justify entering into a contract with another entity when he still has a valid and subsisting contract with another for what amounts to be the same subject. He should first terminate his prior contracts before entering into another. If there was a breach and he felt aggrieved, he should have given notice first to the other party.

And now he (and ABS-CBN) are facing a P150M lawsuit from Solar Sports. A pittance perhaps, compared to the totality of his earnings, but it doesn't really speak well of his integrity.

Frankly, I don't really give a damn which network airs his fights. Regardless of whichever network airs his fights, I would have known the outcome hours before via the internet because local airings tend to be extremely delayed and filled to the brim with tons of commercials. Pacquiao could win via first round knockout and you would only be able to watch it several hours later due to the huge volume of advertising.

Secondly, I don't really care to watch Pacquiao if he's not wearing trunks and boxing gloves and beating up some hapless Mexican or other. So what if he appears on this show or that show? Pacquiao was never an actor to begin with, cashing in only on his fame to appear on primetime television.

But I grew up knowing and believing that a man's word was his bond. If you say something, mean it. If you promise to do something, do it. It's simply of matter of honor. I guess it's different with him.

I never really liked the way he turned his victories, which should be a matter of national pride, into political sideshows by snubbing victory parades and parties hosted and organized by the City of Manila in favor of events organized by the current Mayor's former political rival who is now the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Yes, I understand that utang na loob or gratitude has something to do with it, but to alienate what amounts to be an entire city, the nation's capital at that, to let himself be used as a political tool just because of politics is something which escapes my comprehension.

I have also never liked it when people think they can do anything simply because they're rich or famous. Like when he decided to record an album, or run for Congress, or delay a flight just because he's a VIP.

And now, he's bent on winning a seat in Congress in 2010. What gave him the idea that he would be a good legislator? Does he really believe he has what it takes to author laws or engage in debates? If he really wanted to help people, why not run for Mayor or any other local office instead?

I'm inclined to think that there are only two reasons why the ruling party bothered to recruit him at all...his money, and his fame.

Whether he runs for Congress or City Hall or whatever, Pacquiao has shown to us that 1) He doesn't know how to keep his word; and 2) He's always out looking for a better deal. These are the two traits that I really don't want to see in any politician. Ironically, it may also be these two traits that make him a shoo-in for whatever post he chooses to run for.

Just some friendly advice, though I doubt it if he needs it. He can't box forever. And money doesn't last forever either. At the end of the day, what will matter most is how he is as a person. And so far, he isn't looking all that great.

I still hope he wins against Hatton though. Despite everything, this country can still use a hero. As a boxer, he certainly deserves our adulation. As anything else...well, that's up to you.





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