Pacquiao teases 2022 elections bid; Roach likes idea of president defending boxing title
LOS ANGELES–There is that palpable invisible wall that divides the parallel universes the Manny Pacquiao exists in whenever he is training for a fight. After his workout on Friday, there was a tear in that wall, when Manny Pacquiao excused himself from Filipino journalists gathered around him at Wild Card Gym’s backlot after his workout.
“I have a 6 p.m. class,” said Pacquiao while heading to his black Mercedes Benz parked in its usual prime spot. The senator was referring to his online master’s course for public administration.
Beaming, he quipped: “I’m going to make the impossible, possible.”
He left everything at that, as he always does when reporters who drop by his training sessions try to reel a definite quote from him regarding his political plans.
There’s a teasing comment, a knowing smile and little else.
And that fuels a lot of talk about his plans for next year’s presidential elections, where he is rumored to be gunning for the highest seat in the country.
His possible presidential bid has pushed politics into Pacquiao’s sporting universe a little more than usual. The buzz circulating in his training camp has not just been about preparing for his Aug. 21 title fight against underdog Yordenis Ugas and how the Cuban was a last-minute replacement for the injured Errol Spence Jr. It is also about where he stands when it comes to next year’s Philippine presidential elections.
As Team Pacquiao shuttles to Las Vegas via a multivehicle convoy, Pacquiao is scheduled to rendezvous with businessman-turned-congressman Mikey Romero and former Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, who are expected to plane in to watch the fight.
The two are known political allies of the boxer, with Puentevella telling Filipino journalists who covered the Tokyo Olympics that he would be acting as the boxer’s spokesperson.
While Pacquiao has mostly been teasing with his political plans, his longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, has been more vocal, saying it would be a boxing treat to watch a country’s head of state fight on the ring.
“I tease Manny sometimes. I ask him, ‘are you going to run for president?’ he never tells me ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ He’s just like, he smiles at me. [I tell him] if you win this fight and you become president, I said wouldn’t it be pretty cool if a President defends his title,” Roach told FightHubTV.
It’s looking far, far ahead, but since everyone was already in a light mood, Roach even conjured a scenario of President Pacquiao fighting on the ring: “I’d have to fill out a waiver, because you’re not allowed to hit the president,” he said.
Roach told the channel he hopes Pacquiao calls it a career after two more fights, at most.
“Hopefully he’ll be president by then and not spend all his money on the poor people,” he added. “Because I do worry about Manny going broke sometimes because he does spend all his money on poor people.
“He helps them out as much as he can, but sometimes we spend more than we have. But he’s happy with that. He’s given to the poor.”
On Sunday, Pacquiao’s sons, Jimwell and Michael, gave out 1,000 school bags with supplies here through the boxer’s eponymous foundation.