ALL signs point to ring icon Manny Pacquiao clinching a seat in the Upper House of the Philippine Congress, the Senate. With this inevitable shift in his status, Pacquiao may be forced to give up his pursuit of a lucrative rematch with American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It will be recalled that Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing after a lopsided decision win over American Timothy Bradley Jr. on April 9. Not a few doubted the announcement and dismissed it as campaign propaganda. As congressman, Pacquiao drew jeers for being as visible as, well, the Invisible Man. By making the retirement vow at the height of his campaign for Senator, Pacquiao wanted to impress upon voters that he was ready to leave boxing behind and commit himself totally to the life of an elected official.
Pacquiao is now under pressure to honor his word amid latest developments suggesting that a rematch with Mayweather Jr. may be easier to make this time. Top Rank, which represents Pacquiao, recently disclosed that it is in the process of settling its lawsuit against American Al Haymon, the adviser of Mayweather Jr. With Arum and Haymon on the verge of patching things up, and with Mayweather sending signals that he is about to emerge from retirement, the road to Mayweather-Pacquiao II is almost bump-free.
Mayweather Jr. has been dropping hints that he may end his hiatus with a boxing match opposite mixed martial artist Conor McGregor. This fight reeks of commercialism, crap, and as recent reports suggest, hoax. With so many quality boxers available, Mayweather Jr. will be heavily criticized if he picks a pro boxing newbie (McGregor did start as a boxer at age 12, but has been into mixed martial arts since he was 18) in his pursuit of the immaculate 50-0 mark.
The best route Mayweather Jr. can take is a rematch with Pacquiao. The return bout may not generate as much money as the first meeting, but it is still expected to prick the interest of fight fans and end up as the second most profitable fight in boxing history.
So here’s the picture thus far: Bob Arum and Haymon are ready to make business while Mayweather Jr. is seriously mulling on returning to business. The only problem is Pacquiao’s currently out of the business.
It would have been easy for Pacquiao to pursue Mayweather Jr. had he lost in the election. With nowhere else to go, and with the need to recoup campaign expenses, Pacquiao would have dialed Mayweather Jr.’s number in a wink of an eye. But by being elected to the Senate, Pacquiao just entered into a pact with the Filipino people. Performing well in the Senate is important for Pacquiao because this could make or break his dream of eventually running for President. Pacquiao will be 43 years old by the time the May 2022 presidential election takes place, making him eligible to seek the post.
The moment Mayweather Jr. formally announces his return, you can bet your rent money that Pacquiao will be fidgeting in his Senate seat pondering not on a proposed bill but on the probability of a ring comeback. Pacquiao may have opened a new chapter in his life, but there is the matter of the unfinished business with Mayweather Jr. It’s an itch that Pacquiao may have to scratch if he is to totally focus on his job as Senator.