FRESH from signing a new endorsement deal with Chinese brand Anta, Manny Pacquiao entered the ring against Jessie Vargas with sneakerheads anticipating what footwear the Filipino boxing legend would use for his comeback fight after a seven-month retirement.
The 37-year old senator-athlete was seen wearing a pair of Anta trainers during promotional events leading to the Vargas fight, and was expected to use the Chinese brand for the first time in the ring.
On Sunday, the eight-division world champion had the Anta logo emblazoned in the back of his new black and gold shorts but his shoes looked familiar.
Even after Nike declined to extend Pacquiao’s contract in the fallout of his controversial remarks against same-sex relationships last year, the Filipino fighter continued to wear the Swoosh in his apparel and boxing boots when he last fought Timothy Bradley in April. Change was expected with the new deal with Anta, and it showed with Pacquiao’s apparel except for his shoes.
A closer look at the pair the fighting senator from Sarangani wore last Sunday indicates he may have chosen to stick with something battle-tested, his signature Nike Hyper KO MP boxing boot.
Some similarities were apparent, like Pacquiao’s personal ‘MP’ logo developed by Nike were evident in the tongue and the upper, the Flywire look across the length of the upper, the ‘Manny Pacquiao’ embossed in the counter that was present in the line. And there appears to be a Swoosh symbol painted over to match the white and blue colorway.
As with any athlete of Pacquiao’s caliber, he might have stuck with what already works for him or preferred to use footwear that have been 'broken in' or shoes that have previously been approved by the Nevada Boxing Commission. Who can say? But judging by the results of Pacman's latest fight, the risky gamble surely paid off.