Should Manny Pacquiao Have to Fight in Manila?

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao has always been renowned for his patriotism and political activism as it relates to his native Philippines. Now, however, many are wondering if the widely regarded No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world should be doing more.

In what can only be described as an interesting request, one of Pacquiao’s colleagues has reportedly (via the Philippine Star) requested that he participate in at minimum one “patriotic fight” in his nation’s capital prior to his retirement. The goal, obviously, is to infuse a bit of income into the economy, banking off of Pacquiao’s international appeal before he ultimately calls it quits at some point within the next few years.

“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.

Ty also wasn’t particularly enthralled with Top Rank boss Bob Arum’s recent comments in which he said that “there is zero chance” that Pacquiao would fight in Manila due to the citizens being unable to pay for high-priced tickets

“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,” the lawmaker added.

What makes this debate so interesting is that it fuses together the two most prominent parts of Pacquiao’s life: his longtime loyalty to Arum and Top Rank as well as his unwavering desire to be a hero to his homeland. At this point, however, it doesn’t seem likely that he will be able to come to resolution that will appease all parties involved.

People in the Philippines simply cannot afford some of the more pricey tickets that typically get peddled for a big name fight involving a boxer of Pacquiao’s caliber and, on the flip side, there is zero incentive for Arum to rent out his golden goose for a charity fight overseas.

Manny’s limited career window further complicates matter.

The only way that a fight in the Manila will ultimately get put together is if Pacquiao himself puts his foot down and makes it a priority.

Will he? We’ll see. Should he? That’s for each individual fan to figure out.