Manny Pacquiao has long been the work horse of his boxing class, his community and his home country. But as he approaches his fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, it appears his political career could be keeping him from solely focusing on his Dec. 8 fight.
Bhenj Agustin recently reported that Pacquiao's camp is promoting a fight past the potential one with Marquez. Based on the crowd reaction and controversy surrounding his third fight with Marquez, this isn't going to be a smooth road back to the belt.
Here's an excerpt from the piece, with a quote from Pacman's promoter, Bob Arum:
“He wants to fight in April because he has to go back to the Philippines for the election. April 13th is no good because it’s Holy Week, it’s Easter Sunday. So the day that we’ve been looking at is April 20th."
Isn't it a little too soon to look past his current card?
Of course, there's also reason to believe that Pacquiao is back and stronger than ever. His recent conversion to the Christian faith has him more upbeat and jovial than ever before in interviews and other reports, and he's spending time training with the legendary Freddie Roach yet again.
Pacman is also hungry to prove that his last two major bouts—Marquez III and Timothy Bradley—are not indicative of his decline as a boxing great. The 33-year-old had this to say in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire:
“I have to prove they’re wrong...My last two or three fights have not been impressive, but guys are running and running from me after I hit them. I thought Marquez ran all night, and [Timothy] Bradley backed off."
There's certainly reason to believe this is his most important fight ever. Floyd Mayweather is still lurking in the shadows for a potential super fight with the two men, but it will never happen if Pacquiao were to lose again.
Whether or not the big bout ever happens, it's clear that the ultimate goal for Pacquiao is to end his career on top before returning to the Philippines to help the country that he's been loyal to for so long.
In another interview with USA Today's Jon Saraceno, Arum notes that Pacquiao is a national legend, much like Dirk Nowitzki is to the Germans and Yao Ming is to the Chinese.
He gives third-world people the feeling that they can advance..This is a kid who sold candy on the streets of Manila, who had to fight his way against all the other hungry Filipinos. He taught himself (English) and he ran for Congress. His is an unbelievable story—something even a huckster like me couldn't make up."
As his camp gets ready to defend itself against Marquez—arguably just as hungry for his first win in four fights—Pacquiao must continue to focus on his training at hand above the rest of his extra curricular activities back home.
He will be a great politician for his district and will hopefully bring about the same change in that region that he brought by changing the boxing landscape during his tenure as one of the best strikers and fighters that pay-per-view has to offer.
But for now, that must be on the back burner. If not, Marquez is waiting to send him home early.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.