MANILA, Philippines – One of his colleagues in the House of Representatives is urging Filipino boxing champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao to stage "at least one patriotic fight" in Manila before he retires from boxing.
LPG-MA Representative Arnel Ty, a member of the House committee on sports and youth development, said Pacquiao should stage one fight in Manila, in order to spotlight the Philippines as a global tourist destination, retirement haven and investment hub.
"We would like to believe that professional boxing is not just about money, that it is also about the sport. And in this case, it is also about Manny giving his country a much needed lift," Ty said in a statement.
Ty is responding to earlier statements made by Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Arum told The Philippine Star that there is "zero" chance of Pacquiao ever doing a fight in Manila again.
"We're doing gates now in Las Vegas from $11-million to $12-million," Arum said.
Pacquiao's last bout in the Philippines was against Mexico’s Oscar Larios in 2006, which was held at the Araneta Coliseum.
In that bout, ring-side tickets were sold for $1000, but according to The Philippine Star, organizers ended up giving away some of them.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Pacquiao's 3rd bout against Juan Manuel Marquez is expected to be a sell-out, with only a few tickets left. Tickets were sold at $1,200, $900, $600, $400 and $200.
But Ty said the Filipinos' inability to buy the expensive tickets should not be the sole consideration.
"While money is an important issue, it need not be the sole or predominant factor to be considered all the time in deciding as to where to stage a fight," Ty said.
"I don't think Manny himself is personally worried at this stage in his boxing career about making more money," he added.
Ty added Filipinos will find a way to pay for the expensive tickets just to see Pacquiao fight. "We Filipinos can be very passionate fans," he said.
Moreover, even non-Filipino fans will come to Manila to watch Pacquiao fight, said Ty.
"Apart from this, our Department of Tourism will surely spend some of its promotional budget to help draw in foreign visitors who might be interested in watching the fight," he said.
But according to Arum, the problem of holding a Pacquiao bout in the Philippines is not just about money.
"The problem is you have to hold the fight in the Philippines early Sunday morning, and all the newspapers in the US have to send their writers to come all the way here, when it's tough enough to get them to Las Vegas," Arum said. With a report from The Philippine Star