The Bellyache Heard around the Boxing World
By Bobby Mac
Manny Pacquiao was admitted to a local Manila hospital for a few days this past Sunday after an ulcer was found in a routine checkup by his doctor. His mother says he’ll be released in a few days.
The ulcer was reported as minor, but unfortunately, Manny Pacquiao works in one of the most intensely competitive and painful sports in the world, professional championship boxing, prizefighting by any other name. Any boo-boo, any hint of weakness discovered in a prizefighter is something for vicious highly trained opponents to pick at, to open up, and to obliterate.
Manny has been in ascendancy for a long time now with seemingly a bottomless well of improving performances to draw from, such that against the biggest, strongest, most prime, most recent champions, he has given his best, most domineering performances. That’s a 15 yr run of ascendancy against most of the stiffest competition available to him, one of the finest records of modern times.
Well, after all, Manny was voted as the defacto first ever fighter of the 3rd millennium when he swept all the major media outlet fighter of the decade awards, not to mention also being voted as the 2nd best fighter of all time sandwiched in between Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali who’s legacies need no additional explanation.
So, it ain’t just me beating the drum for Mr. Manny, excuse me, Senator Pacquiao if you please. It’s the boxing writers, the larger media, and the people, the most globally diverse collection in the history of sports who have anointed his greatness.
So, where does a newly elected Senator who is known as the 2nd best fighter in the history of boxing, the best of the 3rd millennium, where does he go from here?
Well, if you will forgive me for mentioning the obvious, the hospital of course, where presumably he is receiving an expert diagnosis, care, and hopefully some rest and reflection. Can anyone who has kept up with his breathless career and formidable extraneous activities, can they really imagine this dynamo at rest and reflection?
No can say. Even if I were one of his inside generals running interference for him as he parts the seas around the globe, I would not feel confident of being able to read exactly what ticks on his clock, the likes of which has never been seen in this world before. I do know that common sense dictates that mere mortals cannot pursue high elective office while operating at such a high level of excellence in sports, much less carrying on at this level of boxing which is the least forgiving of any sport.
Now, it also needs to be mentioned that Bob Arum is on record as having picked a couple of concurrent dates in November for Pacquiao’s next bout and is in active negotiations to secure his next opponent, so it appears Manny is going to give this Senator/Championship Prizefighter gig a good go for at least one more fight, but will he be the Manny of old?
There is no model for what he is attempting, yet the odds makers will be setting odds because that is their job come hell or high water, or will this be one of those rare bouts where the major bookies refuse to set the odds?
The choice of the opponent comes into play, with many if not most wanting that opponent to be Floyd Mayweather Jr., the fighter who has crashed the Pacquiao celebrations without ever showing an inclination to step up to the scratch line against Manny and fire off a punch.
After all, Manny is on record as saying he is willing to meet Mayweather’s 14 day cut off date of drug testing that Floyd famously demanded in the closing seconds of their scheduled fight that knocked the fight off Manny’s March 13th docket.
Yet, if there has been any response out of Golden Boy Promotions or the Mayweather camp, I haven’t heard or been privy to any of them. Arum, Pacquiao and his team, and the boxing media appear to be the only ones beating the drum over this fight.
Why the silence?
Is the Mayweather brain trust huddled in a secured bunker deep under a Vegas mountain mapping election returns and medical reports to divine the ultimate super plan to derail the Pacquiao express?
Well, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, so I guess we will have to wait for Golden Boy and Team Mayweather to clear their throats and their slates.
Stay tuned, this is a serial drama after all with plenty more fun installments to come.