MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s political ambition and financial problems will likely keep him from hanging up his gloves, a boxing analyst said one day after the “Pacman” regained his WBO welterweight belt.
Pacquiao exacted revenge on American boxer Timothy Bradley Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila), beating “Desert Storm” comprehensively to win a unanimous decision.
After his victory, his wife, Jinkee, tearfully asked the “Pacman” to consider retirement, but Pacquiao repeatedly told reporters at the MGM Grand that his boxing journey will continue for at least two more years.
Boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said that while Pacquiao – a former pound-for-pound king and eight-division world champion – has nothing left to prove, it is unlikely that he will step away from the sport that made him one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
“Let’s face it: ‘Yung Manny Pacquiao ay hindi lamang boxer. He is a politician. ‘Yung kanyang political career, hindi nating pwedeng itanggi at naka-dikit ‘yan sa kanyang boxing career,” Tolentino said on “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Monday.
Pacquiao serves as the congressman of Sarangani and has indicated plans for running for the Philippine Senate.
“Another factor,” Tolentino said, “despite having earned enough dollars to rival the Central Bank, eh may financial issues pa rin si Manny Pacquiao.”
Pacquiao is dealing with tax problems both at home and abroad, and Tolentino said part of the $20 million that he is guaranteed for the Bradley bout will go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In a report before the fight, USA Today quoted Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, who said they won’t be surprised if the Filipino boxer will owe some tax money after the bout.
“I estimate that we’re going to owe a few million when this is over, but that’s not a shock to us?” Koncz said. “Is it going to be $18 million that somebody put out there? Absolutely not.”
But Koncz also hinted that Pacquiao’s financial troubles were related to politics, as he insisted that their lawyers were working on the cases.
“In America, there’s no issue of tax evasion or nothing. The major issues here are about four categories of tax deductions,” said Koncz. “We have a tremendous accounting team working for us. We have great tax lawyers working for us.”
Tolentino admitted that it was “almost scary, spine-tingling” for him to hear Pacquiao’s plan to fight for two more years, but he understood why the Filipino boxer would feel that.
“Pacquiao has emerged bigger than boxing. He has a political career tied up to his boxing career. He has tax woes, and all these things are tired up to boxing,” said Tolentino.
“It is unfortunate that these are the factors that might convince him to stretch his boxing career,” he added.