Who can blame the guy? Who among us wouldn’t want the chance to chase another dream within a dream at least once in our lives, provided we are among the fortunate ones to be living within one?
One of the most all-around, kindest and good hearted individuals in sports chose to briefly undertake a new sporting endeavor; one in which he could hold the titles of boss as well as worker. Manny Pacquiao has never been one to verbally lambaste any of his opponents and this in and of itself is a quality that millions find beyond admirable.
We’ve all seen the photos of the Philippines in a condition of utter desertion whenever he fights. The streets are cleared, the shops are empty and even the shrapnel ceases to fly between warring factions around the island nation.
Lately, Manny’s been seen on the basketball court as a coach and player for a squad within the Philippine professional basketball ranks. The multi-division as well as former lineal champion from General Santos City recently stated in an international media conference call that his preferred day to shoot some pro hoops is Sunday, although he’s been told to temporarily hang up the high tops as he prepares for his November 22 bout with light welterweight titlist Chris Algieri in Macau, S.A.R., China.
“It (basketball) won’t affect my training,” said the former pound for pound champion fighter. “I don’t train on Sunday and that’s when I have my games. It helps me practice my footwork, balance and it keeps me in great shape.”
Unless matters have drastically changed in the past few years, the “Pac Man” is of course suited up in his team colors to help put many a keister in the bleachers. Prior to his December 2012 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, former NBA greats Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller visited Pacquiao during his training camp in Los Angeles. It’s not likely that the cameras cut away just as Manny began to drain jumper after jumper. By stark contrast, his amiable nature made it all the more humorous as he was made into the brunt of jokes courtesy of Barkley and Miller whenever his jump shot looked more like a potential act of vandalism akin to throwing a brick through a window. It’s all good fun and besides, who’s going to tell him that he can’t play on the team just as no one would tell him straight to his face that even the most tone deafened person found his singing to be (kindly stated) dreadful? It’s not worth the time and aggravation to ponder the situation because of once more, the likability of the man.
The question was posed to Manny during the media call whether or not he’d settle for a friendly game of one on one with the one and only Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It’s not too far-fetched, is it? We’ve hoped with waning optimism for many years now that the two would face off in the ring, so why not settle for a “1A” (little “a”) type of showdown to satiate our pugilistic palates? Better yet, why not a game of two on two? Manny picks up Floyd and the Pac Man’s best friend, Buboy Fernandez guards Leonard Ellerbe. Imagine the wall-like picks that the two seconds in command could set. It may sound somewhat entertaining but likely none of us would drop even a ten spot on pay per view to see it. It wouldn’t make sense so for now, Manny needs to purely focus on the task at hand.
Should he unfathomably lose to Chris Algieri next month, then his ring reputation would suffer tremendously as would the Asian peninsula resort destination which rakes in more gambling revenues in one year than Las Vegas can hope for in seven to eight. Odds-makers will likely have Pacquiao as a heavy favorite. In the meantime, we can rest assured that the only form of hardwood upon which Manny will hone his trade will be one upon which he skips rope. Legendary promoter Bob Arum couldn’t be more satisfied with such a change of venue.
“At first, I wasn’t very pleased with him playing basketball because an injury could wreak havoc on the plans for the fight.” said the longtime boxing mogul. “He told me that’s it,” Arum added during this morning’s conference call. “After the bout, if he wants to try out for the New York Knicks, then that’s fine with me.”
The older we get, the more brittle we become, so maybe someone can tell the great Pacquiao that even the Knicks are fine without his services and that he can stick to the day job he discovered when was just a teen.