By: Sean Crose
“Pacquiao is something of a Renaissance man,” the Washing Post stated about Manny Pacquiao on Monday. “He was a congressman, and now a senator. He’s won 12 major world boxing titles. He’s won titles in eight weight divisions— from flyweight to welterweight. He’s a pop and ballad singer (He’s recorded his own ring entrance song). He’s an Evangelical Christian preacher. He was a Philippine Basketball Association player-coach. He also runs a farm.” Yet the Post indicates that, at the moment, Pacquiao is facing two unique challenges – one being welterweight kingpin Errol Spence, who the fighter will meet in a major fight this August – and the other being political issues back home in the Philippians.
Pacquiao has reportedly been a long standing ally of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. Now, however, the two men are finding themselves in opposition. What’s more, there’s talk of Pacquiao running for the Presidency himself. Indeed, the shouts of fans wanting their hero to run for President in the Philippians can be heard in videos of Pacquiao training in LA’s Griffith Park. While Pacquiao is still quite a force at forty-plus years of age in the ring, and may well even upset the impressive Spence when they fight, it’s clear the man’s ring career is on the downside. The ambition that has guided Pacquiao to greatness may soon become focused completely on the politics of his homeland.
Needless to say, no one is better suited for outside activity during a major training camp than Pacquiao. His retinue is enormous when he prepares for a fight. It seems a small army is with him each morning as he does road work in the famed California hills. There always seems to be a crowd around the man – and if that’s not literal truth, it’s very close to it. In other words, Pacquiao’s psyche seems custom made to deal with distractions.
Which is certainly a good thing, as Spence is grinding away in preparation for their battle at home in Houston. Spence is interested in neither large crowds nor in running for office. He is, however, quite interested in boxing. Add in the fact that he’s younger and considerably bigger than Pacquiao and it’s little wonder many, if not most, are picking the soft spoken Texan to win when he meets Pacquiao August 21st in Vegas. Pacquiao, though, has been defying the odds his entire life. It’s hard to say with certainty the man absolutely will not emerge victorious – either in the ring or in politics.