Manny Pacquiao’s plans for 2013 haven't earned him great reviews thus far. Starting with his camp’s inability to decide whether they wanted one or two fights this year and ending with their inability to decide on who they would be fighting, the Filipino star and his representatives have been acting like this is their first rodeo.
Pacquiao is 34 years old. He has 61 fights under his belt. He is one of the most successful and respected boxers of his generation. There is no denying that, in the past, he and his people have handled everything that has come their way about as well as humanly possible. And that is what makes all of their recent missteps all the more bewildering.
Somehow over the past few weeks we have gone through each of the following: Pacquiao contemplating retirement, Pacquiao dismissing retirement, Pacquiao not wanting to fight Juan Marquez, Pacquiao wanting to fight Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao wanting to fight Marquez in May, Pacquiao not wanting to fight Marquez in May, Pacquiao wanting to fight someone else in May and Pacquiao not wanting to fight someone else in May.
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It’s been six weeks since the fourth Marquez fight and yet, somehow, the Filipino superstar has exhausted more possible options for the next 12 months than most fighters do in about five years. This isn’t a huge problem, obviously, but it does speak to a certain disorganization that is becoming increasingly associated with how he and his team are handling their business.
During a recent interview, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum offered yet another bewildering pronouncement pertaining to their 2013 plans: his client would not fight his next fight, regardless of when it happens, in America.
Why you ask? Well...
"He doesn't want to fight in the United States. How come? Because he'd have to give close to 40% to the government," Arum said recently.
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"I mean you know, it's getting ridiculous," he added. "As far as Manny is concerned, and Marquez, they would prefer that the fight not be in the United States.
"That's what happens when you raise taxes and you say, well, let the rich pay and so forth. Boxers are in the category where they are rich. It was bad enough paying 35 and now they're paying 40%. Enough is enough.
"These big foreign fighters don't want to fight in the United States."
So a marginal increase in American taxes will cause Pacquiao to fight in a different country? Seriously? This is one of the two richest boxers on the planet we’re talking about, and he is quibbling over an increase of a couple of percentage points?
Pacquiao hasn’t fought outside of the U.S. since 2006, and now when he is at his wealthiest and most successful, he will completely alter his fight location over a minor tax increase?
It’s beyond stupid.
The Filipino star is allowing his team of know-it-alls to completely distract him from where his attention needs to be: fighting. He shouldn’t be focused on finding a new venue. He shouldn’t be focused on scouting potential tune-ups. He shouldn't be focused on maximizing what will surely be an extremely sizeable pay day whenever he decide to lace up his gloves.
He should be focused on getting healthy and fighting.
And if he doesn’t?
Well, then the embarrassing image he left everyone with on Dec. 8 may end up getting replaced by whatever he looks like after Marquez knocks him out a second time.