By Ludwig O. Daza
Is there still a remaining talent that inheres in Pacquiao which he can harness and garner accolades worldwide in the shades of his boxing exploits? He surely is a multi-talented person and much of the world knows it already owing to internet. His recent climb in the US music charts contending with the likes of Lady Gaga and Steven Tyler is proof of the Pacman’s appeal in America. This foray into the US music scene however is not a testament of his talent as a singer but as a boxer. He will never be like Usher. To sing a tune may be considered a talent as there are so many people who can’t hit the right note, and Manny Pacquiao surely can. To be recognized by the music industry, without having the talent of Usher or Aple de Ap of the Black eyed Peas, one must have a modicum of singing ability.
This creative indulgence of Pacquiao may be attributed to his being left-handed. He is also into billiards and basketball. Had he immersed himself early and given much of his time to the pool table, who knows he could be like Bata or Django, but his basketball skills will never take him to the PBA, much less the NBA.
The body of Pacquiao and the energy that resides in it enabled him to become an unprecedented 8 division titlist in boxing. But his massive legs coupled with his enormous reservoir of will to win and stamina is I think what sets him apart from the rest of the boxing world. It is in his legs that his power is coming from, allowing him to knock the living daylights out of his adversaries, and which massive legs I believe lies another talent that can make his worldwide appeal transcendental which I will discuss later – Muhammad Ali’s worldwide popularity in his heyday will pale in comparison if the Pacman eventually takes up this sport.
Just when you think you’ve had enough of the Pacman’s athletic exploits, he dabbles into politics. After a debacle as a political neophyte, his political star is now shining bright and who knows he might take it to another level.
When he entered politics, a lot of people raised eyebrows. Not me. I thought this guy can make things happen in politics and put a stamp on it like he did in boxing. He promised a hospital to his congressional district in his campaign trail. Now that he is a congressman, the hospital is now under construction.
In Philippine politics, all you need is money and knowledge where to put it. He suffered a defeat in his first try because he did not know where to put his money. But this is what will separate Pacquiao from the rest of the politicians: Resources and his knowledge of the common people where he came from. In boxing, he has a body like no other that made it all happened. In Philippine politics, you only have to have money and anything is possible, and Pacquiao has tons of it plus natural charm of not contending with anybody in public.
Going back to the main purpose of this article, I think it is in Cycling that Pacquiao can still put to use his athletic prowess and make him successful internationally as in boxing. He is just 32, and 39 years of age are still competing professionally. When he retires at Age 34, he can target the Tour de France in 3 years time, possibly trained under the shadows of Lance Armstrong or Cadel Evans.
If Manny asks these people to share their expertise, it would be very very hard for them to say no. Rarely superstars in their own right reject people of the status of Pacquiao – Kobe Bryant and Pacquiao adore each other’s success – and it is also to their benefit and will add luster to their popularity to work with the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
In America, Pacquiao’s popularity has crossed over – meaning, not only the boxing aficionados know him but people from all walks of life are beginning to notice. This was not lost on the people of Hewlett-Packard when they hired Manny as and endorser for their products. Not even Floyd Mayweather Jr with his boxing skills can lure a lucrative endorsement from major American brand or company.
However, Pacman is virtually unknown to the rest of Europe where Cycling permeates the everyday existence of the people of these countries and where boxing is virtually non-existent in the sporting news, except England and Polland/Russia where Amir Khan and Klitschko Brothers are known, respectively.
In Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), boxing is non-existent, but Cycling is on the same page with Tennis. In France, which is the holy grail of Cycling, boxing is relegated to lower pages of sports section. Spain and Italy are Cycling countries with Vuelta tour and Giro Italia as majoring sporting events, respectively.
I’m not counting on Pacquiao winning the Tour de France, but just to have the Pacman race in the TDF is sure to endear him to the Europeans. Just imagining the Pacman wearing a Pacman-Top Rank jersey attacking the ascent of Tourmalet and Galibier is sending shivers down my spine. I think Bob Arum would ponder about that possibility of business venture with the name Pacman-Top Rank as a team battling it out in Alpe-Huez with Rabobank, BMC and Trek Teams.
Cycling is not as physically taxing as boxing. You only need stamina and riding techniques which can be learned in riding schools in Europe. These essentials will only require devotion for the multi-talented Pacquaio. And if he put his mind into it he will certainly be successful in cycling. And again that part of his body which is his massive legs will allow him to at least win a stage in Tour de France.
His charisma in the saddle will be equivalent to that of Thomas Voeckler, the Frenchman rider with the same physical stature as Pacquiao, standing probably a little over 5’6, who exemplify his every ride with a warrior spirit, always attacking, as shown by him in the recent Tour de France 2011 when he defended the Yellow jersey like there’s no tomorrow, but eventually losing it to the ascent specialist Andy Schleck of Belgium at the penultimate stage.
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