Pacquiao could even probably smile at reports that Golden Boy Promotions had signed up World Boxing Association light welterweight Amir Khan, who has at times sparred with Manny and often praised him for his confidence-boosting advice, relentless training methods and sharp focus that have clearly been imbued by the 22-year-old Briton.
The cause for a smile is the fact that Khan and Vanes Martirosyan, all trained by the incomparable Freddie Roach, have the equally diligent and hardworking conditioning expert to help them get into the kind of shape they need to be in, to reign in a sometimes unforgiving sport.
As Ariza told us many times before, he gives Khan and Martirosyan the same supplements and vitamins that he gives Pacquiao, which means that if Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and the criminally inclined Mayweather family slandered Pacquiao by claiming he was on some performance-enhancing drug, then Khan should be on the same thing.
It should be interesting to find out whether Schaefer et al would demand that the young British world champion undergo the random drug testing they demanded of Pacquiao, otherwise, their malice in trying to get under Pacquiao’s skin and harass him with allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs without a shred of evidence, would be clearly established.
But what should have pleased Pacquiao more than anything else is the fact that he will, when he hangs up his gloves, leave behind a legacy of incredible achievement and in the process provided inspiration to scores of young Filipinos from poor families, who seek to emulate his rags-to-riches story. Most if not all of them may not succeed to the same extent that Manny has, but at least Pacquiao will know that he blazed a trail and opened the doors of the big boxing market in the US to talented countrymen blessed with skill and a courageous Filipino heart.
One such young fighter, Eden Sonsona, who is now managed by the son of Pacquiao’s late manager, mentor and father-figure Rod Nazario – Rommel Nazario – was on the same flight with Pacquiao, who may get him a fight on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the state-of-the-art, $1.3 billion Dallas Cowboys stadium of Jerry Jones.
In his US debut, which was the last request that Rod Nazario made to Pacquiao, the Hero of Asia kept his word and Sonsona made an impressive debut with a second-round TKO over Eilon Kedem in the Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto “Fire Power” fight card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The kind of inspiration Pacquiao provides and his ability to attract attention to the sport, which he, more than any fighter today, has kept alive especially in the United States, was evident last Jan. 14 at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of the Waterfront Hotel when Smart Sports, a consistent, major sponsor and supporter of Pacquiao made its first thrust into pro boxing with a superb card before a standing-room-only crowd, which included many foreigners, who enjoyed some cracking ring action.
World-rated Filipinos Milan Melindo and AJ”Bazooka” Banal scored contrasting victories over truly worthy opponents, with Melindo earning a unanimous decision to capture the World Boxing Council Youth Intercontinental flyweight title against talented American Anthony Villareal and Banal stopping four-time world title challenger Cecilio Santos of Mexico in the fourth round.
As usual, ALA Promotions put on a class act that kept faith with the inherent style of PLDT-Smart’s esteemed businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan and Ricky Vargas and the gentleman, who fleshes out the projects Pato Gregorio.
Cebu fans bordered on the ecstatic, knowing that with Pangalinan getting involved in boxing and teaming up with the respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer and his son Michael, the sport is certain to see many more top class promotions and is bound to take the high road to success just like the various business enterprises of the gentleman they fondly call “Boss MVP.”