By EDDIE G. ALINEA
Filipino boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquio dimissed as ridiculous reports that he is unretiring because he is broke and badly needs money.
The soon-to- be 38-year only man on planet earth to crown himself champion 10 times in eight weight divisions, likewise, laughed off speculations he chose World Boxing Orgnization welterweight ttlist Jessie Vargas as his opponent in his comeback fight because the reigning 147-pound titlist is he easiest to beat among those being considered as his dancing partner when he officially comes ouf of self-imposed retirement two months from now.
“I’ve been fighting for the past 21 years and recipient of so many what I consider as ‘jokes’ perhaps, to disarm me everytime na lalaban ako. But, I’ll tell you, itong birong ito ang pinaka-nakatatawa at nakaiinis,” Pacquiao, an elected senator during last May’s political exercise told this writer in an interview shortly after his Team Mahindra’s loss to Rain or Shine in the on-going PBA Govenors’ Cup last Friday.
“Me, broke? Come on. Last year lang, as member of the Lower House, I was adjudged as the richest congressman based on the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) I filed for year 2015. How can that happen?” Nagastos ko na lahat ang halos P4 bilyon na kinita ko sa panahon ng pagbo-boksing ko? “the two-time member of he Lower House representing Sarangani Province asked .
Based on his SALN, which, all government servants are required to submit annually, Pacquiao, reported a net worth of P3,268,200,088 billion (US$70 million) up until 2015, almost double of the P1.688 billion he recorded the year preceding, the highest among the 290-member House.
“As a congressman, everybody must have already known that I have been helping so many of my constituents in their needs, most of them financial assistance, out of my own pocktet. May mga naitayong pabahay, ospital na under construction, iba’t-ibang proyekto. May ilang libo ding scholar,” he rattled in.
“All of my wealth, of course, came from boxing na naipon ko at ni Jinkee, my wife. Truth is, an I’m not bragging, sa mga kininta ko at ng mga negosyo, hindi na kamin maguguton sa mga nalalabi pa ng buhay namin,” Pacquiao, also a four-division linear belt owner, assured.
“The future of our five chldren have also been secured,” including yung mga ipanganganganak pa,” he said kiddingly. “Yung mga itinutulong ko sa mga kababayan nating nangagailangan, have also been set in place ng foundation Jinkee and myself have set up.So, ano itong swinasabi nila na naghihirap ako kaya nagbabalik ako sa boksing?”
Regarding my fights, well, you yourself naman know that who I will be fighting in a partifular encounter has always been decided via consultation among my promoter (Bob Arum of Top Rank) and my team, ” the ‘Fighter of the Decade’ awardee of the Boxing Writers Adociaiuon of America eplained.
“Kung sino lumabas sa consensus after considering the pros and cons ng makakalaban, yun na yun. he said. “Never did I pick an opponent. ako, kahit sino ang iharap sa akin, lalabanan ko. Pilipino ako at wala akong kinatatakutan.”
“Why am I going back to boxing? “Well, sabi ko naman when I announcedd my retirement, I just wanted to feel what it is to be a retired boxer,” he recalled. “Noon wala pa kong idea because I had not experienced being retired.”
“Ngayon alam ko na. Masaya din, specially when I was elected senator. Mas marami akong napagsisilbihan, hindi lamang mga constituents sa Sarangani, ” Pacquiao asserted. “Enjoy ako. “But the excitement oif boxing is different.”
“As I have been saying, I ave been fighting all my life. Buhay ko ang boksing. Dito ako nabuhay. Dito kami nabuhay ng Nanay ko at mga kapatid ko. Boksing din ang bumubuhay sa amin ni Jinkee at mga anak ko. hindi ko kayang iwanan basta-basta habang may lakas pa ako,” he Pacman said.
“I told myself, puwede namang pagsabayin. Boksing at government service. Patuloy akong makakapagpaligaya ng mga tao sa pamamagitan ng boksing. And at the same time, continue serving humanity. Subukan ko nga,” he said.