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Will tax problems distract Pacquiao?

By John F. McKenna (McJack): The recent well publicized tax problems surrounding Filipino icon World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) are another unwelcome distraction that “Pacman” does not need ahead of his title defense against WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (28-0-1 NC, 12 KO’s). Pacquiao and Bradley will be squaring off on June 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Manny has turned around his life since his disappointing performance last November against WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KO’s). In the Marquez fight the new and improved Pacquiao was given a much tougher fight than his fans or five time trainer of the year Freddie Roach expected. In fact Roach was predicting an early KO for Manny and had gone so far as to say that his fighter would possibly knock out Marquez in the first round. Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, Alex Ariza said that even God himself could not save Marquez from his inevitable fate, that of being KO’d early in the fight.

Juan Manuel Marquez made those predictions look silly as he fought “Pacman” on even terms with many boxing pundits stating openly that they believed Juan won the fight. This despite the fact that Pacquiao was hyped as much improved over the fighter who won a narrow decision over Marquez in 2008.

In the weeks and months after Manny’s disputed win over Marquez, he engaged in a great deal of soul searching and finally had a religious experience. In the aftermath of Pacquiao’s religious experience he turned to God. Much to the delight of his wife Jinkee, Manny gave up gambling, late night partying, drinking, nightclubs and bars. In addition Pacquiao sold the farms he owned that were used to raise chickens used for cockfighting. Manny also embraced the Bible and now studies it on a daily basis.

It has long been Pacquiao’s desire that when his boxing career is finished he wants to devote his full attention to his political career. Already a congressman in Sarangani Province and wildly popular in his homeland it appears that the sky is the limit for Manny. As is sometimes the case in the world of politics, Pacquiao is now embroiled in a controversy regarding his tax status. Whether or not Manny’s current tax problems are a preemptive strike brought against him by politicians who seek to destroy him remains to be seen. Politics is a rough and dirty game.

The last thing Pacquiao needs at this stage of his career, coming off two less than spectacular performances, is an issue that will largely distract him as he prepares to fight Timothy Bradley. Bradley is young, strong and fast, and is a legitimate threat to “Pacman”. It is another unanticipated headache that trainer Freddie Roach will have to cope with as his star pupil prepares for what most likely will be a difficult fight.

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