How Pacquiao will lose to Hatton
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-04-02

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s situation with ABS-CBN has gone from bad to worse. And much, if not all, of the blame can be attributed to Pacquiao himself.

Pacquiao unilaterally bolted from a live contract with Solar Sports and announced his decision last March 17 via a video clip aired over ABS-CBN, the broadcast network where he opted to move his fight telecasts. Even before Pacquiao went on the air to announce his moving to ABS-CBN, there were sports writers who have already exposed the development.

Immediately, Solar Sports executives denied the contract violations that Pacquiao’s camp cited as justification for moving over to ABS-CBN. Solar Sports executives Wilson Tieng and Peter Chan Liong flew to the US to meet with Pacquiao and clarify the issue.

After meeting with Tieng and Liong in Los Angeles, Pacquiao — obviously enlightened on the potential damages that a unilateral rescinding of contract can reap — reversed his stand and announced that he is sticking it out with Solar Sports.

To stick it out with ABS-CBN will mean no telecast of his fight with Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton as Solar Sports will surely seek a court injunction. That means no television revenues from Solar Sports or ABS-CBN — most counter productive if more money was Pacquiao’s goal.

Solar Sports already announced before the Los Angeles meeting that they are ready to file a P150 million damage suit against Pacquiao. So, not only will Pacquiao lose his Hatton fight telecast earnings due to the injunction — but he now stands to pay P150 million in damages.

Not a good idea after all, Pacquiao must have realized when he met with Tieng and Liong in Los Angeles. He immediately ate humble pie and announced that with Solar Sports he shall stay.

So embarrassed was Pacquiao that he could not even face, much less say a word, to ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo when he exited from his Los Angeles apartment shortly after reversing gear. It was revealed last March 27 that Dyan Castillejo was the key go-between in the transfer to ABS-CBN.

From being one of Pacquiao’s favorites in media, who has gotten a lot of scoops from the Pacquiao camp, Dyan Castillejo suddenly became a leper of sorts to Manny Pacquiao.

There would have been no fiasco if Pacquiao had bothered to study his contract before announcing his transfer to ABS-CBN. He should have ensured that his brain was engaged before he put his mouth into gear.

Dyan Castillejo and ABS-CBN were only doing what served their network’s interest. They’ll be remiss not to grab the Pacquiao-Hatton fight telecast if they sensed that there is an opening to get it.

Pacquiao’s subsequent claims that he was misled and that an embargo on his videotaped announcement was not followed do not hold water at all. For Pacquiao to claim that he was misled is tantamount to admitting idiocy — not knowing the truth about contracts. That he allowed himself to be videotaped proves that he willfully and unilaterally bolted from his Solar Sports contract.

You may regard ABS-CBN as “hustlers” or “greedy” but professionals they’re known to be and they’re not likely to violate an embargo agreement. They’re smart enough to know that violating an embargo agreement can place Pacquiao in an extremely difficult position which can pressure him to remain with Solar Sports. What belies Pacquiao’s claim of an embargo agreement is that he later confirmed, after the taped video was aired, that he is sticking to his decision to move to ABS-CBN.

Pacquiao should have just licked his wounds and bashed pride after announcing that he will stick it out with Solar Sports. He should have just diverted the flak that he got by focusing on his big fight with Ricky Hatton because in that endeavor he enjoys the full support of the nation.

But Pacquiao would not leave well enough alone. He had to have the last say and fired a tirade against ABS-CBN last March 27, hoping perhaps that he could still salvage his reputation with the many Filipinos who were disgusted over what he did with his existing contract.

Pacquiao’s actions suggest that he is not focused on his fight with Hatton but on his planned campaign for a congressional seat in 2010. He must have realized how this recent contract episode eroded his standing in the eyes of many of his die-hard fans.

Pacquiao may have panicked when he realized the fallout of the contract row and how this will negatively influence the voters in Saranggani where, it has been reported, he plans to run.

Oh yes, there is a reliable source who revealed that Pacquiao is not running in 2010 in Gen San (where he was roundly rejected in 2007) but in Saranggani (where ABS-CBN is said to be well-followed). Of course, this sudden relocation raises another honesty question.

Considering that Pacquiao already suffers from a qualification problem with potential voters, the mega fallout of this contract row can compel right thinking Filipinos to think thrice before ever voting for a Pacman.

Is what is now unfolding an indication that Pacquiao is obsessed with attaining a congressional seat and has lost important focus on his coming big fight with Ricky Hatton? If so, then we should start placing our bets on The Hitman whipping the Pambansang Kamao.

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