Pacman’s rematch in politics

Anthony Chua

After the much awaited match with boxing legend Oscar dela Hoya, plus a couple more, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao says he’s willing to shift his career from being a pugilist to become a statesman.

The world’s current best pound-for-pound ring fighter announced his retirement on August 2009. But his handlers assure Pacquiao fans that his permanent stepping off the ring will leave indelible memories in the history of the sport. His last three fights: the mega bout against Dela Hoya scheduled on Dec. 6 followed by still to be scheduled fights against Ricky Hatton in March or April, and his predecessor as pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired undefeated early this year, by July or August next year.

Pacquiao delivered his statement after officially swearing in as a member of Pres. Arroyo’s political party, Kampi. The party officials cheered for Pacquiao’s decision, saying that Pacman is a “plus factor” for the administration party.

The boxer has already attempted to engage in politics as he ran yet lost to Darlene Antonino-Custodio for a seat to represent the first district of South Cotabato in the House last May 2007. The Pambansang Kamao (National Fist) attributed his loss to his lack of time in campaigning because of his preparations for his match against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2007.

Pacquiao has already established himself as a boxing hero and a pop icon in the hearts of Filipinos. He has shown his ability to curb crime and unite the Pinoys worldwide as his kababayans watched his matches and cheered with patriotic pride while watching him wave the Philippine flag after defeating his opponents. Indeed he has exuded the charisma and the power required by politicians in their field.

Yet the entire Filipino race is wary of Pacquiao’s decision. The reputation that he has established “by blood and sweat” could be tarnished or deprecated by his entry into Philippine politics. Remember, he is running for a position in one of the most corrupt governments in Asia. And that, ladies and gentlemen, people of all ages, will be tougher fight for the Pacman.

The Philippines has already kicked out the former president Joseph Estrada, himself an entertainment icon who won by a landslide, because of corrupt and immoral practices. Whether or not Estrada had really been lured by the pomp and prosperity that corrupt government practices gives; the fact remains that the culture of corruption in this country is very much alive and kicking; and powerful enough to contaminate the once upright souls who initially assumed office for the love of serving their countrymen.

In Pacquiao’s case, the entire Filipino race believes that he has the will to spearhead a more upright Philippine political ring. The world has proven that boxing has taught Pacquiao the skills and savvy on how to crush his opponent and the discipline needed to use them properly. His training could be used to knockout the evil practices that has infested the Filipino values in politics.

That would only be possible if he won’t give in to the temptation of amassing more wealth, prestige and power than what he will receive from his next three super fights.

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