Pacquiao could have been our Michael Jordan, that homegrown boxer turned global iconic athlete. He could’ve spent time and energy building training camps and schools, to provide local boxers from all over the country with the best free training possible. He could’ve nurtured the new Pacquiaos, made the Philippines known for having the best boxers in Asia, if not the world.
He could’ve become the Pinoy athlete to emulate, smart and disciplined about his sport, without the yabang and trappings that go with it.
But it seems this trajectory was never an option for Pacquiao. Because it became clear that it was the trap of celebrity that he had fallen into. He started being endorser for every product imaginable, from milk (which he sold with his mother) to a beauty clinic (which he sold with his wife), from deodorant to car batteries, from sports wear to pizza. He did a TV show and a movie, got to record a CD, got embroiled in a tabloid controversy about an extra-marital affair. Decided to be playing coach of a professional basketball team. His mother is a running joke that isn’t funny.
Pacquiao also became politician, and is currently congressman of Sarangani; his wife is vice governor of Sarangani and fashionista wearing designer outfits anywhere she goes.
In Los Angeles to train for today’s fight, Pacquiao gave the media a tour of the mansion that he was buying. Previously owned by Jennifer Lopez.
At around that time the news from Sarangani showed dry lands and dead crops: El Niño had destroyed 2,400 hectares of land, its mayor was thinking of declaring a State of Calamity.
The rest of it is up at The Manila Times column! :)