PACQUIAO’S MANY “HATS”
Boxing megastar and Honorable Congressman Manny Pacquiao decided to wear another hat, that of a PLAYING-COACH of the team Kia Sorento in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Add that to his being a boxer, a politician, a businessman, an entertainer and a product endorser. That many are the hats that the world’s only eight-division champion has in his head.
Anything about Pacquaio has always been newsworthy and the foregoing is no exception. His decision to enter the world of professional basketball as a player and coach has invaded the newsroom and the rumor mill. It elicited different reactions from both his supporters and bashers.
Would this additional responsibility negatively affect his performance as a boxer?
This was the same question that was asked when because of his popularity as a boxer he was offered product endorsements and TV shows and guestings. Of course, Pacquiao obliged.
Many feared that showbiz would cause him distractions. But the boxer knew what he was doing. Pacquiao embraced his career in showbiz. He even appeared in some movies and also had a brief singing career. He silenced objections to his career in showbiz by stringing up victories in the ring. For as long as he kept winning his critics were silent.
Then in 2007, saying that he wanted to help the needy, Pacquiaio decided to join the political bandwagon. And as expected, the well-wishers and naysayers came out in throngs and expressed both support and warnings.
But Pacquiao is his own man. He listens to advises but does what he thinks is best for his life, family and carreer. His promoter Bob Arum and coach Freddie Roach could only wish him well for they themselves know that nobody can dissuade the former best pound-for-pound boxer from pursuing his political ambitions. He went on and ventured into the unknown territories of politics.
He lost his first attempt to win the congressional seat for General Santos City in South Cotabato, Philippines. He tried again in 2010 when he ran as Congressman of the province of Sarangani and won finally. He is now serving his 2nd term having won his reelectioon bid in 2013.
Then came the next conquest of Pacquaio…a career in basketball. On the heels of his decision to play and coach in the PBA, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Sonny Belmonte, called the attention of the boxer-lawmaker. In an interview by the Philippine media, the leader of the House asked him and other absentee lawmakers to perform their mandate, that they need to attend sessions.
If Pacquiao seriously plays his role as coach (forget the player part) at the professional level, this will eat up a lot of his time. Coaching a pro team in the PBA is a serious thing. Each team in the pro league plays at least twice a week and aside from that, as a coach, he needs to supervise the training of the team. There are a lot of things that a coach must accomplish.
Would Pacquiao be able to attend to all the concerns of his team as diligently as he should?
With the many hats he is wearing, very unlikely that he could. It was reported that he did not attend 39 session days during the First Regular Sessions of the 16th Congress. If he could not perform his duties in Congress because of his busy schedule then how could he squeeze in his role as coach. And if he chooses to prioritize his role as playing-coach in the PBA then what would happen to his duties as Congressman?
But the more serious question is— How about his boxing career?
Pacquio has fought 8 times since becoming a lawmaker in 2010 winning 5 via unanimous decision and 1 majority decision. He lost twice, 1 by split decision to Timothy Bradley and the other by knockout to his archnemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
Philippine’s boxing pride failed to impress in his bouts while serving as a lawmaker. He even suffered a brutal knockout in the process. In his last 4 fights before winning a congresional seat he was mighty. He TKO’ed Miguel Cotto, David Diaz and Oscar Dela Hoya and knocked out Ricky Hatton.
Is it coincidence that he has not been performing well in the boxing ring since he became a member of the House of Representatives? Or is it because he could not carry his vaunted power into the welterweight ranks where his opponents are naturally bigger than him? Or perhaps, Father Time is catching up with him.
What about now that he is a playing-coach of a basketball team? How will this affect him as a boxer? Would his decision to join the PBA be a source of distraction not only on his upcoming fight with Chris Algieri but abut also on his future fights?