It seems that Manny Pacquiao’s presidential bid is on the ropes. While this writer is not the least bit familiar with Filipino politics, the efficacy of Filipino polling, or voting habits of the Filipino people, things certainly don’t look good for the multi-divisional world champion’s goal of becoming the President of his country.
According to some polls, Pacquiao is polling in the neighborhood of just 6% support in the upcoming May 9 election, with front runner Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tallying at 56% atop the list of presidential candidates according to Pulse Asia surveys.
Pacquiao, however, is still out campaigning and seems optimistic that the polling is not indicative of the true feelings of his people. The Filipino fighting icon is hopeful that his popularity will carry a massive grassroots wave of support on election day among the poor and working class who are frequently under-represented in formal polling.
Moving possible realities aside for the moment, though, one just has to recognize, especially as a boxing fan, just how cool it would be for a world class boxer to become President of his nation. And, even cooler, if that sitting President could somehow find his way into a boxing ring and compete in a world class event.
It’s still within the realm of possibility that Manny could do just that if he pulled off the comeback victory on election night.
Okay, so, just imagine this:
The boxing impossible is accomplished. IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. and WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford finally sign on the dotted line to meet one another in a 4-belt title unification bout later this year.
Then, assuming there’s a clear winner and no controversy, the winner moves on, looking for the next best challenge. And, regardless of who wins, his attention will immediately turn to Pacquiao, who’ll still be the biggest, most bankable available star despite coming off a loss and more than a year’s worth of inactivity.
Manny, whose competitive spirit will forever burn bright and not let him end his legendary boxing career with a loss, could be very open to one more run at main stage glory. And, in this particular case, what bigger glory would there be than becoming the 4-belt, fully unified, undisputed welterweight champ?
From a business standpoint, Pacquiao vs. the Spence-Crawford winner would be a no-brainer. Realistically, it could do bigger business than even Spence-Crawford, itself. Spence and Crawford, obviously, would jump at the opportunity to showcase their abilities against a name as big as Pacquiao’s and to get the associated piggyback ride to next-level marketability that could come with it.
But the question is whether Manny could and/or would sign up to face this kind of challenge. Just from a competitive boxing perspective, it would be extremely hard for 44-year-old with his kind of mileage to jump in the ring against an elite-level, offense-minded fighter at the top of his game.
One could argue that a 40-year-old Pacquiao beat a top 3 welterweight in Keith Thurman, so, maybe the task would not be so impossible. But that was three years ago and it was Thurman, who is not as sharp or aggressive as either Spence or Crawford. Thurman, for as good as he was, is a boxer and was never going to be the kind of fighter to tear into Pacquiao and truly test is physical ability and mental resolve.
The other factor to be considered is whether Manny even has the time to prepare for such a big task as Spence or Crawford. If he manages to become President, it’ll be even less likely that he has the time for a full training camp. His job as Senator already limits the amount of time he could dedicate to boxing.
Most likely, Manny Pacquiao won’t become the new President of the Philippines. It’s also likely that he stays retired and far away from either Spence or Crawford. But it sure is interesting to imagine the possibilities of both.