Philboxing.com owner and founder of Pacland website (now www.pinoygreats.com) Dong Secuya was a recent visitor in General Santos City together with a friend from Cebu. At the airport before he left, Dong called to apologize for not being able to sit down for a coffee with this author. He stayed for one night only.
But before he boarded his plane, Dong intimated what he said was a very nasty episode between him and American photographer Mike Young.
Young accosted him while he was taking pictures of Manny Pacquiao when the latter was doing his post-sparring workouts and told Dong to stop taking pictures as he now has exclusive rights over the release of photos of the Filipino boxing icon.
As it is, Young reportedly arranged an exclusive agreement with the Associated Press for all Pacquiao photos. The American reasoned out, according to Dong, that many photographers have taken advantage of their Pacquiao photos and sold them to different wire agencies and photo syndicates.
Curiously longtime Pacquiao photographer Paul Morales is no longer with Team Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s aide de camp Bren Manansala Evangelio says Morales was fired but he declined to discuss the issue.
Another photographer, Jeffrey Maitem of Getty Images, likewise experienced the same rude treatment from Young.
The Inquirer’s Aquiles Zonio said Young has pushed away Filipino photographers who used to cover and hang around Pacquiao.
Zonio, too, has fallen victim to Young’s allegedly obtrusive ways.
Both Maitem and Zonio said the Bureau of Immigration should check if Young has a working visa or permit here in the country.
I do not personally know Young. I first met him while covering the Pacquiao-Rios fight in Macau last year. He seemed amiable at that time, preferring to sit in the media room with his gear by his lonesome. The second time was after Pacquiao successfully wrestled back his welterweight title from Timothy Bradley in April this year. Young was gracious enough to make room for me while I was aiming my camera at the presidential table where Pacquiao was having a press conference.
Of course, that was before he reportedly took over as ‘official photographer’ of Team Pacquiao.
Things sometimes happen so fast and this incident has aided in the growing reputation of Pacquiao’s inner circle being a snake pit.
This is also not the first time foreigners have gotten under the skin of Filipinos surrounding the 8-division Filipino boxing champion.
There is of course Mike Koncz and then Timothy Sladeck who tried to dupe Dong Secuya into selling his very popular and widely followed site for US$40,000. But when Dong demanded the money up front, Sladeck retaliated by engineering the threat to sue Dong over the use of Pacquiao’s name for his domain URL – the www.mannypacquiao.ph.
Knowing how protective Pacquiao is of his inner circle, Young may have to stop being a bully. In any case somewhere down the road, he will find somebody who will draw the line with him.