PacMan vs. Hitman: Man, will this be a clash!

Wembley Stadium, according to Wikipedia, “is the largest stadium in the world with every seat under cover.” Having hosted football’s most honored trophies—the FIFA World Cup and the EUFA Champions League—it seats a massive 90,000. Will Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton stand at the giant coliseum’s center to brawl? No, answers Bob Arum. The 77-year-old promoter wants the fight held at it’s usual stage: LV. “With Manny’s following in Asia and Ricky’s support in Europe,” he says, “you could say Las Vegas is the center of everything.” Boxing, you see, like most sports and entertainment, is swayed and seduced by one word: Money. And, at Wembley, though Britons and Filipinos and New Yorkers will jam-pack the arena, it’s difficult to raise extra dollars elsewhere. Explains Arum: “It will not be in Wembley, not because Manny would be afraid to fight in England but Wembley makes no sense because we’ll have to do it at five in the morning, outdoors, where there is a ninety percent chance of rain.” Five in the morning in California? Who’ll arise at 5 a.m. to watch on TV? And isn’t pay-per-view (PPV) where boxing organizers acquire the most cash? If we recall MP’s clash with ODLH, the PPV numbers were 1.4 million buys. Multiplied by $54.95 per TV set, that’s a mammoth revenue of $77 million. If fought in England, there’s zero chance for the PPV revenue to climb that high. Also, a 90 percent chance of rain? That will be laughable. Imagine PacMan and The Hitman falling on the mat, not because they’ve spanked each other with uppercuts—but because they slipped on the slimy floor? The conclusion: Wembley is out and it’s back to either the MGM Grand or the Thomas & Mack Center, after “we explore what the best deal is,” says Arum. Looking back at the year 2008, who’d have imagined 12 months ago that Pacquiao would win thrice—in three different weights, at 130 lbs., 135, 147? Now, imagine if Manny beats Ricky this May 2? And lures Floyd Mayweather late in 2009—and also wins that to inflict Mayweather’s first defeat in 40 fights? I know it’s bad omen to predict such outlandish wins—but this seems highly possible. And, if it does happen, our Filipino hero will emerge as one of boxing’s greatest of all time. BIRTHDAY. Last Wednesday night, the city of General Santos hosted it’s grandest-ever party. Two thousand guests (with 5,000 more waiting outside) swarmed the KCC Mall. President GMA arrived. Freddie Roach and Bob Arum flew in. Even former rivals David Diaz and Edwin Valero paid their respects. The brown bottle named “San Miguel,” as expected, caused many to stumble while walking. Red wine painted the ballroom, white wine overflowed, 26 lechons were offered, as were six roasted calves, and a reported five catering-service companies were hired to concoct dishes that included prawns, baby-back ribs and tuna sashimi (a must in the country’s Tuna Capital). Total food bill: P3.5 million. That’s “chicken,” I’d say, for the birthday celebrant who reportedly earned 15 million dollars in 24 minutes of boxing ODLH. Imagine…. that’s $625,000 per minute! Entertainment on his 30th birthday? There was plenty. Arnel Pineda of the world-famous band Journey sang. So did Max Surban. They even dressed ladies in bunny costumes like a Las Vegas casino—complete with casino tables, dice, giant cards. But the star who outshone them all? His mom, Dionisia Pacquiao. In yesterday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, TJ Burgonio wrote: “Dionisia Pacquiao put on her dancing shoes and sashayed on stage in a special dance number that stirred up more excitement than any other performance… For minutes, ‘Nanay Dionisia’’ enthralled the more than 1,000 guests as she swirled and twirled in a pink floral dress with a DI (dance instructor)…” Now we know where Manny acquired his foot-work! TUESDAY. Want to see PacMan in person? Some “insiders” relayed that he’ll be in Cebu this Tuesday before flying to Manila where he’ll leave that night for LA. Isn’t it an honor for Cebuanos to have the soon-to-be Dr. Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao visit us two days before Christmas?

Categorized as Boxing
John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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