“Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully.” Scott Alexander
By Alex P. Vidal
Former Iloilo vice governor Roberto “Obet” Armada believes basketball, or working as coach of KIA Motors in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), will only distract Rep. Manny Pacquiao if he really intends to square off versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. (46-0, 26 KOs) next year.
Armada, 50, a cockfighting enthusiast like the 35-year-old congressman from Saranggani Province, suggested that Pacquiao should focus in his fistic career if he does not intend to retire as a prizefighter.
“He is already into politics aside from being a world boxing champion,” sighed Armada, a former vice mayor of Janiuay, Iloilo. “As a PBA coach, he would be wearing multiple hats at the same time.”
Like other boxing fans, Armada is also excited to watch Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) test the mettle of the hard-hitting black American superstar even if it would be the Filipino fighter’s farewell fight.
“That would be the richest boxing duel in history,” Armada surmised.
But Pacquiao as head coach of the debuting KIA Motors is already a sealed deal. For sure, an assistant coach would take over the job once Pacquiao prepares for his next fight either against Ruslan Provodnikov conqueror Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) or Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) in September 2014.
As if the PBA distraction is not enough, Pacquiao will also throw his hat in the senate race under the ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2016. According to grapevine, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotion boss Oscar De La Hoya plan to stage the mega Pacquiao-Mayweather 12-round tussle in 2016, the same year the Philippines will hold the presidential and congressional elections.
Politics is already eating up some of Pacquiao’s quality time. He gets invited left and right to appear in stamina-sapping promotional and social events, as well as activities related to his being a member of the House of Representatives. Plus the PBA job.
Even before thinking of securing a PBA franchise, Pacquiao was already a true-blue basketball enthusiast. He distributed free ringside seat tickets to the entire playing members of the Boston Celtics when he poleaxed in two rounds Ricky Hatton for IBO light welterweight tiara on May 2, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Aside from basketball, Manny Pacquiao’s other favorite past times are dart, billiards and chess.
The first thing Pacquiao did when he arrived inside his suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas after a four-hour drive from Los Angeles was to play chess against members of his staff on April 28, 2009 at around past 9 o’clock in the evening.
He does not play like super GMs Wesley So and Vassily Ivanchuk, of course, but he knows the game’s fundamentals. No pawn pusher would be happy to checkmate a world champion in a friendly match, thus we don’t expect Pacquiao to yield a single chess game against a good player.
World pool champions Bata Reyes and Django Bustamante even allowed Pacquaio to pull the rug from under in their series of “friendly” matches where bets were reportedly so heavy every pool player wanted to sacrifice a stint in rich tournaments abroad just to have a golden chance to play with Pacquiao and throw a match to satisfy the boxer’s ego. The more they lose a billiard game against Pacquiao, the more they are guaranteed to laugh on their way to the bank. Pacquiao is such a generous opponent. Let him win a match and he will let your pocket overflow with cash.
The ring heartthrob, the only boxer in the planet to win eight world titles in eight divisions, maintains a dart area in his Los Angeles apartment where he plays when he wakes up in the morning.
The dart area inside the Los Angeles apartment was where I used to sleep while preparing to cover the Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Angel Cotto clash in Las Vegas in July 2008.
One morning while I was still sleeping, courteous Pacquiao was careful not to make unnecessary noise while playing dart when he noticed someone was still sleeping on the floor.