Pacman Seeks Gold, Curry Sinks Record 3’s, Leicester Still Leads, Diaz Shuts McGregor Up
The Sports Minute By Ted Lerner
Manny Pacquiao has said that his fight against American Tim Bradley on April 9th in Las Vegas will be his very last. Having known Pacquiao for 20 years, I think the odds of him retiring for good are about 20%. Yes, that means I think he will not retire. Why? As usual it all comes down to money.
You’re probably saying to yourself right now: “Manny just scored $100 million when he lost to Floyd Mayweather last year. How in the world could he need the money?” Well you have to trust me on this one: he needs it.
Several weeks ago I was at a high falutin’ birthday party in Manila and I found myself in the buffet line standing behind none other than Chavit Singson, the former governor of Illocos Sur and Manny’s long time confidante. I asked the governor if this will be Manny’s last fight and he immediately said: “I don’t think so. He will fight again because of the money.”Then in late February I was at a fight in Cebu and ran into another longtime friend of Manny’s. He told me that Manny will be spending well over $1 million dollars for his campaign for senator in the May elections. And that’s just on his campaign. Manny also funds the campaigns of dozens of friends and family members running for every office from councilor to city janitor.
Pacquiao spends money like it has no value. Last year he purchased a $12 million mansion in Beverly Hills, California. He is currently building a $7 million church in his home town of General Santos. He also built dozens of homes for his constituents, all with his own money, totaling over half a million dollars. And none of his business ventures seem to generate much revenue.
When you spend in large chunks like that, the money tends to fly fast. There’s nothing in Manny’s life that will generate the kind of cash that boxing can. I’ve seen it before with nearly every other boxing great and I expect to see it with Manny. Especially if he wins on April 9, you can bet you’ll see Pacman back in the ring again in the near future.
Actually Pacman might make a return to the ring sooner than most people think. The Rio Olympics are coming up in July, and Olympic boxing is going through huge changes. Olympic boxing has always had rules forbidding professional fighters from competing, however this may soon change.
At its upcoming meeting in May, AIBA, Olympic boxing’s world governing body, wants to change the rules and allow professionals to compete. The changes are expected to pass which means the likes of Pacman could see action in Rio. In fact AIBA president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu has personally invited Pacquiao to compete in Rio and Pacquiao has expressed interest.
The Philippines has never won a gold medal in the Olympics and this development could see that sorry sporting record change in a heartbeat. But something just doesn’t feel right about this idea. Professional boxers are in a completely different category than amateurs and yet the two would be competing in the very same tournament. Not only could this circumstance be extremely dangerous, it threatens to completely embarrass the sport. Can you imagine a well-honed fighter like Pacquiao going up against some 19 year old kid from eastern Europe who has never fought outside of the amateurs? Yeah, it could get pretty ugly, pretty quickly.
Do us a favor Manny. You can certainly fight professionally until you are 40 years old if you so choose. But don’t join the Philippine team in the Olympics.
Greatest Of All Time
The Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry continue to leave jaws agape and every other team in their considerable wake as they blitz the entire NBA in breathtaking style. If you haven’t seen Curry play on TV, just go online and check out some of his highlight reels. The guy is from another planet, regularly dropping 3-point bombs from 35 feet away. There is no way to defend against this, period.
In early March the incomparable Curry hit for his 300th three-pointer of the season. Curry had held the previous record la year at 286 three-pointers for the entire season so he is well on his way to reaching what could be a surreal number and a record that will last for years.
That same night the Warriors won their 45th straight home game besting the 1996 Bulls’ NBA record. The Warriors are certainly likely to match or beat the that Bulls team’s 72 wins. This level of basketball doesn’t come around too often so enjoy it while you can.
I wish I was a betting man because I would have made a sweet killing on the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz UFC showdown. McGregor came into the fight a prohibitive 4-1 favorite despite moving up over 20 pounds to fight the naturally bigger Diaz. The weight difference should have been a red flag but of course, a lot of fans just wouldn’t listen. They got suckered in by McGregor’s big mouth and ability to sell the fight.
Fans who fell for the hype justified the odds favoring McGregor by saying, “Well, McGregor walks around at 170 pounds so it won’t be a problem.” That’s a nonsensical point because Diaz of course walks around at a weight much higher than 170 pounds. So when Diaz reduces for the fight, he is naturally the bigger man with way more power when the bell rings.
There’s a reason combat sports have weight classes. It’s to make the fights fair. McGregor came into UFC 196 favored in everything but reality. As he soon found out to his painful chagrin, reality can at times really suck.
With its solid 1-0 win over Newcastle in mid-March, Leicester City continued its improbable run towards its first Premier League football crown, by going 5 points clear of Tottenham with just 8 games left to play.
Football fans the world over are literally in shock at the Foxes title bid. The team of relative unknowns started the season at 5000-1 to win the league. (I recently read that 25 punters currently still hold tickets at 5000-1 which must be making the bookies very nervous!). The Foxes were nearly relegated out of the Premier league last year and this year were widely predicted to get the toss out of the world’s richest and most popular football league.
Well so much for useless punditry. Leicester’s success is nothing more than a testament to the timeless sporting values of hard work and playing as a team. You can spend gazillions of dollars on superstars but that doesn’t guarantee success. Remember, there is no “I” in “Team.”