|Manny V. Pangilinan|
MANILA—Businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan, fresh from a successful hosting of once-in-a-lifetime hoop extravaganza, is now plotting yet another major event—this time in boxing.
The Smart/PLDT chief wants to host a Manny Pacquiao title fight here.
“This is something the people will really like,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan recently staged the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend featuring Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and other NBA standouts playing against a PBA selection and the Smart Gilas Pilipinas national team last Saturday and Sunday.
It was, perhaps, the grandest hoop bash ever in the country and the goodwill and public appreciation it generated may have convinced the telecommunications tycoon to pursue another major sporting endeavor.
Pangilinan told the Inquirer on Sunday that his immediate goal is to stage a title defense by the Filipino ring icon against a worthy opponent sometime next year.
Pangilinan said he broached the idea to Pacquiao when the world’s acknowledged pound-for-pound king dropped by in the last quarter of the NBA selection vs Smart Gilas match, adding Pacquiao’s response was positive.
“I talked about this with Manny and he was very receptive,” he said.
Pangilinan added he was thinking of a possible blockbuster title showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although with “Pretty Boy” constantly dodging Pacquiao, Pangilinan would be willing to go with other possible opponents, provided they would be competitive.
Among those mentioned was undefeated WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, who has a record of 27-0 with 11 knockouts.
Even the name of current WBA and newly crowned IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan cropped up, but Khan has said he won’t fight Pacquiao, his friend and training partner.
“I’m sure Mr. Pangilinan can pay the money but is he going to be able to recoup it? Besides, it’s very doubtful whether Mayweather will agree to fight Manny in Manila although I guess there’s still a chance,” said Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser .
Pangilinan also mentioned there was an offer for another group of NBA players who are scheduled to visit China in August to play in the Philippines.
The world-renowned Real Madrid football team, led by Portuguese sensation Cristiano Ronaldo and midfield superstar Kaka, had also expressed interest in playing in the Philippines.