Are we still into Pacquiao? | Inquirer Sports
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Are we still into Pacquiao?

10:53 PM March 26, 2016

It could be a diminishing interest curve or the result of recent events, but the question begs to be asked: Are we still interested in Manny Pacquiao and his upcoming “last” fight against Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10 in Manila)?

From a purely celebrity standpoint, critics and doubters of the eight-time bowing world champion may say that the well could be pretty dry by now. Pacquiao may have maxed out his welcome especially with his latest misstep on LGBT concerns. He has apologized for the misaligned metaphor that those in same-sex marriages are worse than animals because of their sexual preferences. And yet in a political season where everything is magnified, no statement is left to pass. Lest we forget, Pacquiao tossed his hat into the senatorial race, another issue often criticized as a step out of his league.

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On one hand, it might be said that controversy is the fodder that keeps Pacquiao in the limelight but there might be too many other larger political concerns and he might be forgotten all together in the May electoral bonanza.

But the bigger issue is the boxing angle. Are sports fans still fascinated by Pacquiao even after losing a forgetful battle against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year? In a sports context where the possibility of a rematch between the two is remote because of the lukewarm response to the fight, fans may have become cold to another Pacquiao encounter against an opponent that really offers nothing new.

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The final barometer could be the sales at the venue of this third Bradley fight and the number of pay-per-view buys sealed. Here at home, the number of people buying tickets at the theaters and those willing to hold family or barkada lunches while trying to watch the regular free TV telecast or a special cable TV purchase will be the measuring sticks.

Nevertheless, from a boxing view, there will still be interest in Pacquiao’s swan song, if it is indeed his final fight. Skeptics will watch to check if Pacquiao’s skills have indeed waned despite the optimistic reports from the Wild Card gym that training camp is going well. The ardent fans of the sweet science will be around to become armchair analysts anew, engaging in the sheer joy of sports opinion.

Then, the rest of the country, those who have followed his heroic exploits since his first fight in America and some from even farther back when he was a reed thin aspiring fighter trying to make it in Manila, will be around.

Many will watch because they don’t want to be left out of the storytelling come Monday when officemates breakdown the fight in spirited break time banter. Those in the ordinary stations of daily life like market places and barbershops will watch because something special could happen in the fight.

Yes, many will still remain glued to their TV screens because the journey of this Filipino sports hero is still incomplete. He has yet to write the final chapter to his story.

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TAGS: Boxing, PacBradley, Pacquiao Last Fight opinion, Pacquiao-Bradley, Sports
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