All quiet in Pacland—before the storm?
(FLASH: Brig. Gen. Joseph Sevilla, former Tourism Director Dion Diaz, and veteran newsman Jun Velasco of Pangasinan are forming the group Advocates of Reform for Native and Indigenous Sports (ARNIS) to promote local sports like sipa, arnis, etc. More on this later.)
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A few days back, boxing godfather Manny Piñol reported that Canadian Michael Koncz had been fired as close-in aide of national boxing hero Manny Pacquiao.
My first reaction was of relief, even as Piñol, a battle-scarred newspaperman, did not specify the reason behind the firing.
I have nothing against Koncz, a many-time Manila visitor and henchman of matchmaker cum laude Bob Arum.
But my first encounter with Koncz, in Davao City where Pacquiao was then training for a fight against a Thai journeyman in Taguig, left me with a bad impression of the evasive foreigner.
Koncz needed a pen to jot or sign something quick, but he had none.
I quickly offered mine, which he accepted without even looking up.
Then, right after he had used it, he shoved the pen back, short of throwing it in my face.
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Of course, I had never expected a thanks or a nodding smile.
I turned away meekly, trying to avoid a hurt.
That incident, however, left me with a sour suspicion of what Koncz could be up to sooner or later.
Anyway, that report by Piñol, which amounted to a temblor that ruffled some nerves in world boxing circles, had been denied.
Bob Arum swore everything was a-OK, explaining that Koncz, who seemed to have a hand in everything Pacquiao was transacting, was an honest, God-fearing fellow.
There again was quiet in the Pacquiao camp and in the Arum financial kingdom, as well.
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OK, it was quiet, but peace was still very elusive as we went to press.
For one, we got a nudging e-mail from a sharp-nosed boxing insider in California that money, loads of it, was the reason why so-and-so could not (yet) set foot in Manila.
Meanwhile, Piñol, in his well-read Braveheart column, said he had never for a while doubted his source.
He wrote: “After a lull of about 10 hours, Koncz denied the firing in an interview with another boxing website saying he had talked to Manny and even joked with him. I find it strange that the frantic denial of the firing would come from both Bob Arum and Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels. Whose guy is Koncz anyway, Pacquiao’s or Top Rank’s?
“It’s also strange that while Manny Pacquiao seems to be taking everything in stride, Koncz and Top Rank are the ones issuing statements on behalf of the Pacman. I have not seen or talked to Manny for sometime now, but if I know him, his light-hearted reaction to probing questions on whether or not he really fired Koncz, implied a more profound message.
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“It was even funnier that Bob Arum had to explain how Koncz made sure that every penny that Manny Pacquiao earned was given to the boxing icon. I never mentioned ‘money problems’ in my column. Was my story just a product of my imagination? Did I just make it up because that is what all the denials seem to suggest? I cannot claim to be infallible. But I can assure the readers that the story came from a very reliable source who gave me accurate stories in the past and there is no reason for me to even doubt its veracity.
“The details and the account were so vivid and there was no way I could ignore the story. In fact, if I were to believe the source, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be a development of cataclysmic proportions.”
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