For the first time in almost five years, world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao failed to hog the front pages of Philippines’ media barely two weeks before his fight.
Not because he is wanting in attention. It could be because people are more preoccupied with things and events other than seeing and reading a dose of hard sell from his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank trying to hype Timothy Bradley as a big threat to Pacquiao’s incredible run to greatness.
Many are either fixated with the homestretch of the Corona impeachment trial or were mesmerized by Fil-Am singing sensation Jessica Sanchez on live TV and Twitter, or both, such that Pacquiao was relegated into the inside pages and tidbits of the news over the past few weeks.
For some, the thought of Pacquiao’s expected victory over Bradley has taken off some excitement from otherwise another compelling fight for the fighting Filipino congressman. Boy, his brush with the LGBT thing was more headline-hugging than – who is it again?
From purely the standpoint of boxing, it is hard to stimulate interest from fans given Bradley’s largely unknown and untested box-office appeal. Unlike the recent fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Angel Cotto, who each had a considerable fan base, Pacquiao will have to bring in all the pay-per-view buys by himself. Let’s admit it, Pacquiao’s June 10 (Philippine time) date with Bradley is all about matching PPV sales with Mayweather who is said to have sold 1.5 million buys when he outwit Cotto en route to a hard-fought 12 round unanimous victory.
Pacquiao and Mayweather may never face each other atop the ring to settle their own issues. But for as long as they continue to box, they will be fighting over bragging rights outside the ring. Not bad at all considering that they will be laughing their way to the bank without risking a potential career-ending loss against one another. They will continue to twit and outwit each other for those bigger column-inch spreads and precious minutes of airtime. They will continue to vie for the highest number of clicks and visits in anything written and said about them in the cyber world.
Pacquiao however should be wary about the red flags raised as his Bradley date takes a backseat as far as media coverage is concerned.
He can only give his fans so many uninteresting fights after spoiling them with too much aplomb and career-defining victories en route to reaching the top.
The eight-division world boxing phenomenon needs to knockout the loud-mouth Bradley in a manner that will serve notice to all and sundry that he is still the man Mayweather will have to blow past to lay claim to greatness.
Pacquiao can fight until Mayweather decides to quit without ever fighting him, even if it means he fights just once a year like Mayweather has been doing over the last five years.
Patience is a virtue. But prudence is too.
Pacquiao can no longer afford any slack in his bid for public interest. He has 2016 and beyond ahead of him.