Manny Pacquiao Wants to Fight in Hawaii, Not Philippines?

| by Alex Groberman

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Nope, that’s not a Manny Pacquiao quote – that’s Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

For Pacquiao and the rest of his Top Rank family (read: Bob Arum), there are a lot of places like and/or better than home. After all, when pressed on whether or not he would allow the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world to fight in front of his hometown Filipino fans at some point over the next few years, Arum quickly and stiffly dismissed the question as nonsense.

The Philippine citizens don’t have the funds to pay for a Manny Pacquiao fight, in Arum’s humble opinion.

And, for the record, at no point after Arum made those comments did Pacquiao ever come out to repudiate the idea so, obviously, he’s okay with it.

Needless to say, that assessment of what folks can or can’t afford drew the ire of some Filipino government officials – namely LPG/MA Representative Arnel Ty, a member of the House committee on sports and youth development.

Ty, of course, famously had this to say on the matter:

“We would like to believe that professional boxing is not just about money. That it is also about the sport. And in this case, it is also about Manny giving his country a much-needed lift,” said LPG/MA Representative Arnel Ty, a member of the House committee on sports and youth development.

“I don’t think Manny himself is personally worried at this stage in his boxing career about making more money. I believe Manny the flag-waver is personally willing to hold a fight here. It is his promoters, who are driven only by financial rewards, who don’t want a fight here,” Ty said.

“Mr. Arum is underestimating the capacity of Filipinos to go out of their way to pay for expensive tickets just to see their idol fight. We Filipinos can be very passionate fans.”

But hey, maybe Pacquiao and Arum are just old and set in their ways. Both men are in the swan song portions of their careers anyway, maybe they simply don’t want to rock the boat. They’ve both had a lot of success hosting fights in Las Vegas (and Cowboys Stadium), so perhaps they’re not really in the mood to try anything new.

It’s unfortunate for all of the Filipino kids who look up to Pacquiao and would love to see him live and in person – but understandable nevertheless.

If that’s the case, though, then why are reports surfacing in from various Hawaiian outlets that Pacquiao and Arum are considering hosting the Filipino champ’s next championship bout in Hawaii? That’s hardly the typical Las Vegas main event stop that everyone is used to.

Via Hawaii News Now:

According to local defense attorney Michael Green, Pacquiao wants his next title bout to be staged in Hawaii. The islands are one of seven potential sites worldwide Team Pacquiao is considering, with the fight taking place in either 2012 or 2013. An opponent has not yet been discussed.

Green says that Pacquiao is more than familiar with his loyal following in Hawaii, and has sought the attorney's help in planning a fight in the islands, possibly at Aloha Stadium. Green says he plans to do research and crunch the numbers, but thinks a Pacquiao fight would sell out the venue.

Pacquiao is slated to visit the islands between November 19 and 21, ahead of a potential Hawaii fight and just a week after his highly anticipated November 12 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

During that trip, Green is hopeful that several local high-profile officials, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, will help solidify the deal with such shows of support as offering the boxer a key to the city.

Granted, fighting in Hawaii isn’t the same thing as fighting overseas. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty big jump from the typical Las Vegas locale and, one that flies directly against the view that Pacquiao and Arum are simply stuck in their ways and don’t want to switch the program up. Heck, it’s not as if there is something so unbelievably crazy about taking a fight to the Philippines. One of the greatest matches in the history of the sport, The Thrilla in Manila between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, took place there after all.

For some reason, though, the Philippines just aren’t good enough for the Filipino champion.

Maybe he can answer why that's the case while also clearing up the Floyd Mayweather Jr. situation and explaining why he refuses to comment on Sergio Martinez.