Manny Pacquiao has wasted little time to transition into his new career since retiring from the ring. After winning his last fight against Timothy Bradley a little more than a month ago, it appears the boxer has now all but secured a seat in the Filipino senate.
According to Filipino social news site Rappler, Pacquiao has garnered more than 15 million votes and is currently ranked 7th for 12 open seats in the senate. With almost 96% of the precincts reporting in, the former boxing superstar is a virtual shoo-in. While official results will not be confirmed until next week, Pacquiao currently holds more than a 3 million-vote lead over the candidate placed in the 13th position.
Pacquiao, who pulled himself out of abject poverty through boxing, is nothing short of national hero in his native Philippines, and has already been twice elected for a position in congress. Much of his appeal is due to his ability to empathize with the struggling.
"If a leader has not experienced being poor, he cannot truly feel for the poor," Pacquiao said during a campaign rally. "The children sleeping on the streets, using cardboard boxes for blankets, I know how that feels. I know how it feels to go hungry for whole day, just drinking water to survive.”
More recently, Pacquiao’s public rant against same-sex couples sparked such public backlash that long-time sponsor Nike dropped the fighter from their brand, and many analysts thought the incident would jeopardize his political aspirations. As of now, however, the controversy has had little affect on his campaign, and Pacquiao appears ready to take his seat in senate this coming July 1st.
It’s also appears that he’s recovered from reports of his poor showing in congress, reportedly only attending a mere 4 days out of 70 for legislative meetings. According to Pacquiao, much of that attendance record is due to all the training demands that come with being a professional boxer, but with his retirement now official, it seems he’ll have the time to take his job in the senate a bit more seriously.
"After this fight I have already said that my mind is to focus on my job," Pacquiao said before beating Bradley. "If I win a senate seat, I have a big responsibility, and I need to focus on that."
From a sporting perspective, this pretty much eliminates any chances of the speculated rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fight that some have speculated to happen, despite its underwhelming performance the first time around. That is at least the opinion of Top Rank CEO and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum who recently spoke with ESPN.com since the election results have come in.
"My feeling is that he's been elected to a very, very important position in the Filipino government. So he owes an obligation to the people to work on his government responsibilities, and that doesn't give him time to screw around and train for a fight the way he has to. You can't do that,” said Arum. "Being a congressman is one thing. There are like 400-plus congressmen, so if he does his job for his constituency, he can take time off and train for a fight. But now he's been elected to nationwide office, and he has no specific constituency. The entire people of the Philippines are his constituents, and he owes an obligation to them to handle business."
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