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Philippines Today

Philippines Today

By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist


Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao


LAS VEGAS – With his next fight with Adrien Broner almost done, ring idol and senator Manny Pacquiao braces himself for his return to the United States to defend his World Boxing Association (WBA)welterweight title against his American challenger from Cincinnati.       


The soon-to-be 40-year-old Pacquiao last fought in U.S. soil almost two years ago in November 5, 2016, when he beat Jessie Vargas via  unanimous decision  to reclaim the World Boxing Organization (WBO) version of the 147-pound crown at the Thomas and Mac Center in Las Vegas.


The Filipino legend, according to a very reliable source, and Broner collide on January 19, or nearly a week after the Philippine Senate would  have resumed session following Christmas recess.


The same source said details of the fight like venue, purse, etc will be discussed and finalized on November 7 between representatives of Pacquao’s own outfit, MP Promotions, and Broner’s handlers.


After which, the official press conference where the bout will be announced will be held in New York where the two-city press tour, which includes Los Angeles, will end.      


Pacquiao had actually made the announcement on Thursday during an appearance at a news conference in Manila for the non-profit International Sports Promotion Society, which named him an ambassador.


In his announcement, the eight-division world champ said he would be fighting Broner next, either on Jan. 12 or Jan. 19. In Las Vegas, The  Manila Times source with knowledge of the deal, however, told ESPN the fight would be Jan. 19, not Jan. 12, though a fight likely wouldn't be formalized until both the champ and challenger had affixed their signatures on the dotted line.


And this will come, precisely, on November 7 during the signing of the long form contract.


About a fortnight ago, Pacquiao was reported  to have signed up with adviser Al Haymon, the Premier Boxing Champions founder who controls several named welterweights, including Broner as well as world titleholders Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.


Haymon also works with Floyd Mayweather and should Pacquiao hurdled  Broner, he would set him up for a potential spring rematch with Mayweather.


Pacquiao and Haymon were on opposite sides when Pacquiao lost a decision to Mayweather in their 2015 welterweight title unification mega fight that shattered every combat sports revenue record, including for pay-per-views sold (4.6 million), overall revenue (about $600 million) and live gate ($72 million).


In mid-September, Mayweather and Pacquiao met in Tokyo, after which Mayweather announced on social media that he was coming out of retirement again and would fight Pacquiao in December. The December date is not happening, but they are on track to meet in the spring.


In that event, Pacquiao mentioned that Mayweather would fight somebody on Dec. 31 and that he would fight in January in an effort to set up the rematch. However, a source close to Mayweather said he was not going to fight in December.


The Filipino great’s last two fights have been held overseas. In July 2017, in the fight that kicked off the Top Rank/ESPN partnership, Pacquiao lost the title by controversial decision to Jeff Horn in the latter’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia, in his final fight with Top Rank as his promoter.


After a year off, Pacquiao returned this past July and knocked out Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round -- Pacquiao's first KO since his 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto to win his first welterweight title -- to win a secondary welterweight belt that he will defend against Broner.


During his media appearance in Manila, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who turns 40 on Dec. 17, said he is hoping for another convincing knockout when he faces Broner. "If I can finish it earlier than seven rounds, why not," Pacquiao said.


Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), 29, of Cincinnati, who has won world titles in four weight classes, is 0-1-1 in his past two fights, having lost a clear decision to Mikey Garcia in July 2017 followed by a draw with Vargas in April. 


Meanwhile, a boxing analyst said Pacquiao needs to knockout Broner to remain open to a lucrative rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.


The Filipino boxing icon did it against Argentinian champion Lucas Matthysse in July, and fight analyst Dennis Principe believes Pacquiao can do that against Broner, too.

"I think malaki ‘yung tsansang (maka-knockout) kasi ang feeling ko after nu'ng panalo ni Manny over Matthysse, parang Manny felt the importance of scoring a knockout win," said Principe.


Principe said that when Pacquiao floored the heavy hitting Argentinean to win the WBA welterweight title, everybody began clamoring for Pacquiao-Mayweather 2.

Sen Manny Pacquiao with Aljo Victor

Published in Entertainment

FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao poses with information technology expert and Laguna player Aljo Victor Gabot during a break in their basketball game in Makati City over the weekend as part of the conditioning of Pacquiao for his fight in Las Vegas with American slugger Adrien Broner in Jan. 19 or 20, 2019. Pacquiao is also readying for his rematch with undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. 


QUEZON CITY – Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles, children of pork barrel scam prime suspect, have asked the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division to let them travel to the United States on November 15 to face charges filed in courts there.


A US grand jury has indicted Lim-Napoles; her children Jo Christine, James Christopher and Jeane; Reynald Luy Lim; and Ana Marie Lim for alleged money laundering.


A motion filed before the Sandiganbayan stated that Jo Christine and James Christopher “most respectfully ask that they be allowed to travel to the United States of America on November 15, 2018 and to stay in the United States of America while they are defending the civil and criminal cases filed against them.”

The Napoles siblings said that similar to the case before the Sandiganbayan, they “are required to personally appear during arraignment, hearings on motions, and trial in the US” or the rights and privileges available to them as accused would be waived.


In their pleadings, the siblings assured the anti-graft court that they would return to the Philippines not only to bolster their innocence, but also to perform their duties as accused in this case.”

Jo Christine and James Christopher are among the individuals facing charges of graft and of malversation through falsification before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division — which is enforcing a hold departure order against the accused — over Malampaya funds in 2009 to 2010.


They are also among the individuals charged with graft along with former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.


Lim-Napoles is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City over plunder and graft charges in connection with the PDAF scam.

Robredo airs hope for more US grants

Published in Latest News

Photo from Facebook | @VPLeniRobredoPH


WASHINGTON – Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo aired hopes in Washington that  the Philippines can still avail grants from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as skyrocketing inflation could worsen poverty in the Philippines.


“I hope the Philippine government will be given the opportunity to pursue once again our application to receive grants from the MCC,” Robredo said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington where she also keynoted the CSIS-Pertamina Banyan Tree Leadership Forum and US-Philippines Strategic Initiative.


The MCC is an innovative and independent US foreign aid agency that helps lead the fight against global poverty.


Robredo disclosed that last December, the Philippines withdrew its application for a second aid package from the MCC.


Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had said the withdrawal from the application for the grant was for policy independence, although former US president Barack Obama had criticized President Duterte’s war on drugs, souring ties between the US and the Philippines.


The Philippines received its first grant from the MCC from May 2011 to May 2016, amounting to $434 million.


“There has been a lot of talk that the reason why we did not get the second tranche of the MCC was our failure to comply with some of the agreements,” Robredo said.


“It is an opportunity for the US to demand from our government to comply with the basic tenets of democracy: respect for human rights, anti-corruption. I think we should continue to exert effort to be a worthy party of that agreement,” she added, noting that the poor Filipino people are the ones who will benefit from the grant.


“Especially now, inflation is very high in the Philippines, exchange rate is bad at this time. And it will be to the benefit of the country if that will happen very soon,” the Vice President said.


She supported the ongoing talks for a US-Philippines free trade agreement (FTA).


“The Philippines will always benefit from a free trade agreement. In fact, we have been lobbying for it, especially now that the trade deficit is at its largest... It is the responsibility of the government to comply with the requirements of the US,” she said.


The Philippines has recently started negotiations on a free trade agreement with the US.


Annual two-way trade of goods and services between the Philippines and its long-term ally totaled $27 billion in 2016, according to the Office of US Trade Representative.


In the same forum, Robredo admitted that the opposition Liberal Party which she heads would face a “tough” battle in the May 2019 elections.


“The President is still very popular and the candidates that he will endorse would have... you know... would benefit from the President’s popularity," she said.


Robredo said the opposition is hopeful that "we will be able to win a number of seats – in the Senate, at least.”


The  Liberal Party is fielding eight candidates for the senatorial race, including reelectionist Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and former presidential candidate Manuel Mar Roxas.


Roxas lost to Duterte in the May 2016 elections. 


Robredo, who is a lawyer, said that political skirmishes with President Rodrigo Duterte will not deter her work to help the Filipino people.


“We have been surviving pretty well. I am, I think, the most vilified of all national government officials,” Robredo said when asked about her working relationship with the President.


“But I have not allowed it to affect the work that I’m doing. Most of my days are focused on reaching the farthest peripheries of the country,” she said.


Since October 2016, Robredo said her office has been assisting poor communities in different parts of the country through the Angat Buhay project.


“Despite the political skirmishes, I think it has not affected what I’m doing,” Robredo said.


Duterte has repeatedly belittled Robredo’s capabilities to lead the country, calling her “incompetent” and “weak.”

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