Thursday, October 1, 2009
MANILA, Philippines - Bob Arum said he was at the airport, waiting to board the plane that would take him to Manila, probably enjoying a pocketbook, which he normally carries when he travels
, when the ageless boxing promoter took an overseas phone call.
“I’d be boarding in an hour,” the president of Top Rank Promotions told The STAR yesterday.
For a number of reasons, he said he can’t wait to get here, and see for himself how his prized ward, Manny Pacquiao, is training in Baguio City for the big showdown against WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas.
Arum said he heard about the calamity that struck the heart of Metro Manila last Saturday. He wasn’t clueless at all that hundreds of lives and millions or even billions in property were lost in the worst case of flooding to hit the country in more than 40 years.
What he didn’t know was that Pacquiao had donated a million pesos to the victims, and in fact is planning to break camp on Sunday, his rest day, to travel down to Manila, and personally supervise the distribution of relief goods to the countless victims.
Without being asked, Arum said he, as president of Top Rank, was giving his share to help the victims of the calamity. All he wanted to know was how much in dollars would a million pesos be, which is roughly $20,000.
“You can put this,” he said, “that Top Rank is handing out one million pesos to the victims of the typhoon.”
Arum will be in Manila before the sun rises today, and from the airport will be brought to the Renaissance Hotel in Makati for breakfast before he boards Chavit Singson’s private plane to Baguio, the country’s summer capital.
Will he join Pacquiao in the distribution of relief goods?
“Absolutely,” said Arum, who plans to stay in the country for four days.
Arum had often told the US media of stories how Pacquiao, who came from a very poor family, shares so much of his earnings to the poor, and that he only knows of one social welfare program in the Philippines and it’s called “Manny Pacquiao.”
The Harvard lawyer who helped promote such great fights as the “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975 is just so proud of Pacquiao.
Arum, who’s been to the country a number of times (he was here when Pacquiao campaigned during the 2007 elections and when the boxer held a grand birthday party last year), is visiting Baguio for the first time.
He said he’d heard about reports how Pacquiao is training like an animal, and how far the reigning pound-for-pound has impressed his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, entering his second week of intense training.
“But I’d like to see it for myself,” said Arum, who had often said that never “in my life as a boxing promoter had I seen any other boxer train like Manny Pacquiao.”
Arum was quite surprised to hear that Roach, who had anticipated the fight to last 12 rounds, said the other day he can see Pacquiao knocking Cotto out.
“You can’t dispute whatever Freddie says because he’s very clever and I really think he’s the best trainer in boxing out there today,” said Arum.
“But he can be wrong. I still see a long, long fight,” he added.
During the fight’s press tour in the US weeks back, Arum said he sees a very tough fight for Pacquiao, so tough that even if he wins, “One thing is for sure and that it’s not going to be easy.”
For Arum, the song remains the same.