A spokesperson for the Philippine Commission on Elections has told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that former WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao did not need to postpone his tentatively scheduled fight on November 10 since he is not required to submit his certificate of candidacy in person. Michael Koncz, the Filipino boxing star’s adviser, announced on Wednesday that the date of the bout needed to be moved to December 1 because Pacquiao was required to be in the Philippines in October to file his candidacy for re-election of the congressional seat he holds as representative of Sarangani province. This is just the next act in a drama that has been staged for the public since the initial June 9 fight between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley was announced.
Act I – The Opening Scene: We pick up where the tired and worn out previous saga ended – with negotiations for a Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight once again freezing. Enter stage left Timothy Bradley, the undefeated WBO light welterweight titleholder chosen to challenge Pacquiao for the welterweight belt. Given Mayweather had previously announced he was moving up in weight to fight the ever dangerous Miguel Cotto for the WBA Super light middleweight title, most fans were not entirely enthused with the casting of the head butting boxer Bradley to star alongside Pacquiao on a HBO pay-per-view card.
Act II – The Leading Man: Pacquiao is depicted as an aging, unfocused champion who is distracted by matters external to the ring such as politics, religion, marital problems and tax issues. His previous performance in the long-running series with Juan Manuel Marquez was largely panned by critics, claiming the Filipino was awarded a gift majority decision over his Mexican rival.
Act III- The Antagonist: Bradley begins his monologue where his character transforms from a confident and self-assured challenger to a brash and arrogant ham. Bradley embraces this role when he shows off super-sized copies of the fight poster and ticket for the contractually agreed upon November 10 rematch at the final press conference just three days prior to the June 9 fight.
Act IV – The Drama Builds: Our star leaves the house waiting for an hour as Pacquiao delays his arrival to the ring on fight night to watch Game 7 of the NBA finals.
Act V – Tragedy Hits: A rather decisive victory for Pacquiao is inexplicably given to Bradley by a controversial split decision, rocking the entire boxing community. Accusations of corruption are hurled and demands for reform are widespread.
Act VI – A Judge Speaks: Duane Ford provides some comic relief when he defends his 115-113 score for Bradley, praising the Californian for giving Pacquiao a “boxing lesson”. In what appears to be some poor ad libbing, Ford proceeds to raise several irrelevant and inconsistent points to further support the baffling score.
Act VII – The Investigations: Top Rank CEO Bob Arum assumes the role of villain. Under the guise of an angered and ashamed promoter, he leads the charge to pursue justice, demanding investigations by the WBO and Nevada state attorney general. Although the five judges who are cast by the WBO to review the fight all score it for Pacquiao, the sanctioning body is not in a position to overturn the official results and can only authorize a rematch. Since the contract already contained a rematch clause, this review was pointless. Also pointless was the Nevada investigation. The state attorney general found nothing illegal or criminal about the fight even though the three judges responsible for the highly suspicious scoring were not interviewed.
Act VIII – Future Plans: Arum returns from what he describes as an “excellent” meeting with Pacquiao in the Philippines, declaring to the world that he is optimistic a fight with Mayweather can be held in April 2013. Although an opponent has still not yet been named, there is no indication that the November 10 target date for Pacquiao’s next fight will be changed. In fact, it is announced within a week of Arum’s visit with his star fighter that the WBC final title eliminator between light middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan will be on the November 10 undercard. Bradley suddenly resumes the trash talk to goad Pacquiao into making a decision regarding the rematch.
Act IX – Change In Plans: Koncz flips the script and announces that the fight will be postponed until December 1 to accommodate Pacquiao’s political schedule, something one would have expected was discussed with Arum during their “excellent” meeting a week earlier. It is learned two days after Koncz’s announcement that no such conflict exists since Pacquiao is able to submit relevant documents via an authorized representative according to the Philippine Commission on Elections.
This brings us to the latest cliffhanger where we await both the opponent and date of Pacquiao’s next live performance. If we still care to believe anything we hear from this production team, a decision is expected to be reached by the weekend.
The only way this performance will garner a standing ovation is if Mayweather is standing behind the curtain when it is finally raised.
Otherwise, it is time to close this flailing show once and for all.