Every Filipino expects Manny Pacquiao to be in tip-top shape by the time he defends his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against challenger Chris Algieri on Nov. 22.
No wonder, netizens wished Pacquiao just stayed in General Santos City to prepare for his highly-anticipated fight in Macau, than play his first official preseason game for Kia against fellow expansion team Blackwater on Saturday (Oct. 4) in Binan.
The 5-6 Pacquiao came straight from the airport to join his team, which he has not seen for more than two months, owing to his press tour, several non-boxing commitments, and, not to mention, his duty as a congressman for Saranggani, as well as attending to the needs of his family.
Adding the PBA to his seemingly endless schedule would surely bring in more load, that, in the long run, would only wear him out mentally, physically and emotionally.
A few sportswriters, had a chance to get a 10-minute interview with the “Pac-man” inside the team’s dugout at the Alonte Sports Center, just shortly after Kia absorbed a 77-88 beating at the hands of Blackwater.
In my observation, he looks physically tired and mentally drained due to his demanding schedule.
His answers were very short, maybe several words or phrases, when the questions are related to the PBA and his team Kia, though occasionally, he answers one or two sentences when the subject shifts back and forth to boxing and his Christian faith.
But one good thing going, I think, is his decision to just play one game, that is, Kia’s PBA debut on opening day on Oct. 19 against this same Blackwater team at the Philippine Arena, before resuming his training for his fight.
No doubt, basketball occupies a special place in the heart of Pacquiao. It’s his childhood dream to play pro basketball. But I also hope he would realize this early, that adding another sport to his already packed schedule would be counter-productive in the long run.
I would rather see Pacquiao retire from boxing at a still respectable level, and not as one, who would later on be labelled as a “has-been” because his skill and speed have diminished not just due to age, but more so, because of “having too many items at his plate.”