By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
LAS VEGAS – For Manny Pacquiao, the long road to San Jose extends beyond the shootout with World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion David Diaz on June 28 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino here.
If he can trounce the good-looking champion from Chicago and bring home his WBC jewels, Pacquiao will be besieged by offers to face International Boxing Organization (IBO) lightwelterweight king Ricky Hatton of Manchester.
Hatton (44-1, 31) is 29 years old like Pacquiao and is United Kingdom’s national pride. The war of attrition will shift between England and the Philippines once the Pacquiao-Hatton matchup will be materialized.
A victory over the amazing Englishman will not only give Pacquiao his record fifth world title, but this will embolden him to pursue his burning desire to become member of the House of Representatives representing South Cotabato district in the 2010 elections.
Pacquiao the politician will be a force to reckon with in the district now being lorded over by Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, the petite reelectionist who dashed to pieces Pacquiao’s ambition in the May 14, 2007 congressional elections.
With Antonino-Custodio graduating in her third and final term in 2010, speculations have it that General Santos City mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr. will vie for the same position. This will push Acharon in a possible collision course with his wedding godson.
Going back to Hatton, promoters at this very early are very much excited to pit him against the orthodox fighter nicknamed “The Hitman.” who lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the WBC welterweight title on December 8, 2007.
Rey Golinggan, a boxing patron in General Santos City, said Hatton is a perfect test for Pacquiao in the lightwelterweight division “because he fights like Pacquiao. He is fast and strong and does not retreat.” He refused to comment if he is in favor of Pacquiao going back to politics in 2010.
Golinggan, also Pacquiao’s wedding godfather, severed his ties with the Antonino when he backed Pacquiao’s candidacy in the recent polls.
Hermie Rivera, a boxing scholar, said although Hatton is already booked to tangle with International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightwelterweight titlist Paul Malignaggi this year, “everything can change because money talks.”
“But Pacquiao must first hurdle Diaz to pave the way for his rich showdown with Hatton,” said the 70-year-old former manager of former world bantamweight champion Luisito Espinosa.