Money, Manny, Money

ABBA, the Swedish pop group that sold over 375 million records, had a No. 1 song called “Money, Money, Money.” Released in 1976 — two years before another No. 1, Manny Pacquiao, was born — the lyrics read: Money, money, money / Must be funny / In the rich man’s world / Money, money, money / Always sunny / In the rich man’s world… / A man like that is hard to find… / So I must leave, I’ll have to go / To Las Vegas or Monaco

Sounds like it depicts a man named Manny with plenty of money in Vegas, right? Right. Because if you research on the Top 10 highest-earners in sports, you’ll find the following men on the list: Tiger Woods (# 1, $100 million), Kobe Bryant (2, $45M), Michael Jordan (3, $45M), Kimi Raikkonen (4, $45M), David Beckham (5, $42M), LeBron James (6, $40M), Phil Mickelson (8, $40M), Lionel Messi (9, $39M) and at No. 10, Alex Rodriguez, who earned $39 million.

If you look closely at the names, it’s missing one. You, of course, know this one. He’s number one in boxing. Rated # 7 in earnings for 2010, Manny’s money is estimated at $40,000,000. Translated to our currency, that’s P1.72 billion. Yes, no mistaken multiplication. Manny earned P1,720,000,000 in a 12-month period (from mid-2009 to mid-2010), mainly for just two fights, against Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto.

Two weeks ago, I read “PACMAN,” his biography. Gary Andrew Poole, the author, narrates of how poor Manny was (one meal a day, no place to sleep upon arrival in Manila, skeleton-thin in build and malnourished). In the book, MP’s story is even more unbelievable than, say, the flying powers of Superman or the hammer-wielding strength of Thor.

The past few years, each time Pacman enters the boxing ring, he’s guaranteed $15 million. That’s over six hundred million pesos. Per fight. Per maximum of 12 rounds. Per maximum of 36 minutes. In what has to be one of the most incredible “earnings-per-second” of any man in our planet’s history, against Ricky Hatton, our Pinoy boxer scored a KO victory in 2:59 of Round 2. Computing the $12 million that Mr. Pacquiao earned, that equates to $2 million earned per minute! Imagine that: Manny’s money is two million dollars per 60 seconds.

Compared to other athletes, they’re all KO’ed by Manny’s earning power. Take Rafael Nadal. In winning last year’s U.S. Open (the world’s richest tennis event), he brought home to Mallorca, Spain the amount of $1.7 million. Nadal had to beat seven opponents in two weeks to earn that money. (Manny earned the same, against Hatton, in less than a minute.) Or, shifting from sports to showbiz, how about comparing MP to, for example, a movie star like Will Smith. Last year, he was estimated to have earned a whopping $29 million. That’s plenty of green bucks for the Men In Black actor. Still, it’s much less compared to our Pinoy boxer who also doubles, unfortunately, as a money-losing movie actor.

MAY 8. This morning, Philippine time, as traffic stops, church pews are emptied, burglary ceases, mothers are celebrated, and everybody’s Filipino eyeballs fixated on the TV screens, Manny will feast on Las Vegas money. Guaranteed $20 million, plus-plus-plus the revenues from PPV and many more +++s, Rep. Pacquiao, to no surprise, has been declared by our congress as our nation’s “richest Congressman.” He declared more than a billion pesos net worth.

Imagine if, after beating Mosley this morning, he returns to Las Vegas in October then obliterates Juan Manuel Marquez, taking home another briefcase of cash amounting to $25M, then, next year, if the Fight of the Century happens, he adds $50,000,000 to his pocketbook and blemishes Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s record? No Hollywood movie — even the L.A. Lakers’ unbelievable 0-3 record to Dallas Mavericks — can beat his true-to-life story.

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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