MANILA, Philippines?Now, it?s Pacman vs Kapamilya.
Even before he could slug it out with Britain?s Ricky Hatton in the boxing ring, Manny Pacquiao has to battle it out with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.
ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs took exception to Pacquiao?s remarks at the March 23 press conference.
?We are surprised by Pacquiao?s statement that ABS-CBN broke a supposed embargo,? ABS-CBN News said in a statement released Tuesday.
ABS-CBN News said ?we respond because [Pacquiao?s] charge strikes at our core values as a news organization: Honest reporting and respect for our sources.?
At the telepress conference on March 23, Pacquiao, who was calling from Los Angeles, California, said that ABS-CBN prematurely aired a video on his aborted transfer to the network.
Pacquiao told the press that the video was meant to be embargoed until he had confirmed whether there was a ?breach? of his contract with Solar Sports.
Solar Sports has a block-time deal with GMA 7, which will air Pacquiao?s fight on May 2 (May 3 in Manila) with Hatton in Las Vegas.
GMA 7 is the fiercest rival of ABS-CBN and Pacquiao?s decision to transfer to the latter highlighted the long-running network war.
2 statements on record
The ABS-CBN statement then recalled a series of events behind the aborted transfer. ?On March 14, Pacquiao recorded a statement that he asked to be embargoed. That statement has never been aired.?
Three days later, Pacquiao ?recorded another statement saying that he came to ABS-CBN to air his next fights. He later approved that statement for airing, and our newscasts aired it on March 18,? ABS-CBN News said.
The following day, Pacquiao granted an interview with ABS-CBN News in which ?he asked viewers to support him and watch his fight on ABS-CBN.?
On March 20, in an interview with ABS-CBN News, he reiterated this point: ?My decision [is] still the same. Mapapanood ang fight sa ABS-CBN (The fight will be seen on ABS-CBN),? he said.
Then he changed his mind.
At the press conference organized by Solar Sports and GMA 7 on Monday, Pacquiao announced that he wasn?t severing his ties with Solar Sports and that the Hatton fight would still be aired in the Philippines by GMA 7.
GMA Network Inc. on Tuesday asserted that ?Pacquiao made the right decision by honoring his contract with Solar Sports and more importantly, by remaining a Kapuso [a GMA 7 talent].?
In a statement, GMA described Pacquiao?s pronouncements about ABS-CBN as ?bold.?
Felipe L. Gozon, GMA Network chair, expressed his admiration for Pacquiao because of his ?courage to admit his faults.?
?It shows character for a man, particularly a world champion ... to admit and ask forgiveness for [his] mistake. It took a lot of courage to tell the truth ... even if in doing so, some quarters may fault him,? Gozon who is also GMA president and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
At the press conference on Monday, Pacquiao claimed that the controversy didn?t distract him from his training.
Focus on fight
Gozon acknowledged that Pacquiao should focus on his fight with Hatton. ?We only want what is best for Manny and we wish him success in his fight against Hatton. His fight is not only for him and his family, but for the entire country as well. He should now train hard and focus on his preparations for the fight.?
During the quarterly ?Chat with Chairman,? when ABS-CBN officers fielded questions from employees, Eugenio ?Gabby? Lopez III, the network?s chair and president, said: ?Let?s support Manny Pacquiao, and let?s wish him well.?
Lopez said that it was Pacquiao who had approached ABS-CBN and that the network didn?t violate any ethical principle.
ABS-CBN News also decided to put an end to the intrigues. ?Regardless, we continue to report on Pacquiao?s activities and respect his decision to enter into any arrangement with any company regarding his fights,? it said in its statement.
Interview request declined
In the March 23 episode of ?TV Patrol,? however, Pacquiao was shown declining an interview request from ABS-CBN News reporter Dyan Castillejo.
Solar Sports denied that it has barred ABS-CBN from covering Pacquiao?s training at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles
?I think Manny?s instruction is for all press [people] to basically give him some time and give him some space,? said Peter Chan Liong, chief operating officer of Solar Sports.
Chan Liong said the issue distracted Pacquiao from his training.
?I think he wants to concentrate. He has a job to do. There?s an instruction to basically shield Manny from the press from all of this,? the Solar Sports official said.
Pacquiao skipped training over the weekend to settle the dispute over the television rights of his megabuck bout with Hatton.
?We?d like to concentrate on promoting his fights,? Chan Liong said. ?I think that?s the most important thing, particularly if he wins, there?s possibly (Floyd Jr.) Mayweather and that?s even a bigger event.? With a report from Jasmine W. Payo