SBD/November 10, 2010/People And Pop Culture

Pacquiao A Star In U.S., But Politics Pulling Him Away From Boxing

Pacquiao Serves In Philippines House of Representatives, Has Presidential Ambitions

Boxer MANNY PACQUIAO is the "first Asian sports star to cross into the mainstream in the United States," according to Gareth Davies of the London TELEGRAPH. Pacquiao's appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday was a "mark of the pulling power of the Filipino icon on the US television market." Pacquiao also appeared on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" this month, and HBO "sees him as a shoe-in for 24/7 documentaries for all of his" PPV fights. In addition, Pacquiao is the "cover story on the American Airlines in-flight magazine in November," and he has been "in demand from sports franchises." The Chargers, MLB Giants and Dodgers have "called on him this year to make appearances" at their stadiums. Top Rank spokesperson FRED STERNBURG said, "I've never seen anything like it. He really is the first Asian sports star to cross over into the American mainstream." However, sources close to Pacquiao indicated that "politics is pulling him away from prize-fighting." Pacquiao is a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, and trainer FREDDIE ROACH "fears that Pacquiao could be very near the end of his boxing career." Roach said Pacquiao during training for Saturday's fight against ANTONIO MARGARITO told him that he "misses his job -- and he meant as a politician in Congress." Roach: "This could be his last fight. I've had anxiety attacks worrying about his focus for this fight" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/9).

THE NEXT STEP: In L.A., Lance Pugmire notes Roach "bemoaned Pacquiao's decision to interrupt training for the Margarito bout to meet with Philippines President BENIGNO AQUINO III." Roach: "I honestly wondered if he'd come back to me the next day." Pacquiao explained that the meeting was "crucial in his attempt to push his hospital construction bill." But Pugmire writes he is "clearly moving toward a new life." Pacquiao said that he "wants to be his country's vice president in 2016, and if that happens, a 2022 president run is a slam dunk." Pacquiao: "I want to be a champion of public service." Roach said, "You do anything too long, as he's done with boxing, it gets old. He wants to be president one day. The only way to do that is to be a good congressman" (L.A. TIMES, 11/10).

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