Limpag: Arum and Pacman

Mike T. Limpag

A FEW days ago, Bob Arum, the consummate promoter, shocked the country with news that Manny Pacquiao had invited him to come to the country should he win his presidential run in 2022 during a Zoom call. Manny denied it, saying he made no such announcement and such political move is ill-advised during the pandemic. Days later, Arum apologized.

But the damage, or should I say, Arum’s agenda has been achieved. We all know now that they are planning a Pacquiao vs. Terrence Crawford fight in Bahrain and that is Arum’s ultimate goal in making the announcement of Manny’s presidential run.

A decade ago, it was Arum who first broached the idea and of course, it happened during one of the pre-fight press conferences. He said Manny “could be the next president of the Philippines,” and the clueless boxing beat in the US (clueless about Philippine politics, not boxing) gave the phrase a life of its own. It wasn’t enough that Arum was promoting the only active boxer who was elected into office, he had to dangle that presidential angle for added publicity.

He no longer promotes Pacquiao, but he got what he wanted. The publicity for a Crawford-Pacquiao fight since it wasn’t only the Philippine outlets that carried the stories.

I have no doubt Pacquiao has entertained thoughts of a presidential run, but I don’t think he’ll jump straight into it as a 43-year-old in 2022, which would make him one of the youngest candidates ever. I think he’d run for the heart-beat-away-from-the-presidency first.

But that’s not for us to discuss, right?

As to Crawford vs. Pacquiao, now that’s a different story. The undefeated 32-year-old and WBO champ who has stopped his last seven foes in compiling a 36-0, 27 KO record against the soon-to-be 42-year-old and WBA champ who beat Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz and Oscar dela Hoya in the year Crawford turned pro.

In fact, you can’t blame fans if they have Dela Hoya vs. Pacquiao in their minds should the fight push through. Pacquiao shoved the Golden Boy to his golden retirement in eight rounds, and some fear that might be Manny’s fate.

But Pacquiao won’t be going down a couple of divisions and certainly won’t underestimate his foe since he certainly won’t be smaller. Their only difference, unlike Pacquiao vs. Golden Boy, would be age and I think Pacquiao, at 41, still has a final trick up his sleeves.

Pacquiao vs. Crawford. Can’t wait. Pacquiao for President. Rain check please.