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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.

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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. 

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Photo from Instagram | @beaalonzo / @cosmopolitan_philippines

 

Actress Bea Alonzo worked for the first time with Aga Muhlach in the movie “First Love” which opens soon in theaters.

 

"This is a dream come true," she told columnist Mario Bautista, adding she has always wanted to work with him. 

 

The film was shot by Director Paul Soriano on location in Vancouver, Canada, and Bea said she really developed a good friendship with Aga while doing their movie there.

 

“He has always been one of my favorite actors and now, I not just get the chance to work with him but also to discover how good he is as an actor but also as a person,” she added. “Kahit mabigat ang eksenang ginagawa namin, he has a way of making it easy para hindi kami pareho mahirapan. He’s a very generous co-actor and I’m so thrilled to be working with a brilliant actor like him.”

 

Joining them in the Vancouver shoot were Sandy Andolong as Bea’s Mom, Albie Casino and Edward Barber and they all become one family while working on location.

 

Aga plays Nick, a top financial adviser who helps companies in making good investments in the story, while Bea is Ali, a happy-go-lucky young woman whose motto in life is just to “seize the day” as she has a heart ailment and needs a heart transplant. Destiny brings them together and they meet by chance in Canada, where their romance blooms.

 

Off cam, it’s common knowledge that Bea is playing beautiful music with Gerald Anderson. They just had a vacation together in Hong Kong and they want to go abroad again during their Christmas break. They spend a lot of time working out together as they are both physical fitness enthusiasts.

 

Aga admitted Bea is so good in “First Love” that he is predicting she will win best actress awards for her touching performance in their first film project together. Aga was last seen in “Seven Sundays” last year while Bea was last seen in “Kasal” early this year.

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MANILA – Seven Filipinos have been named new National Artists by President Rodrigo Duterte.

 

Actress Nora Aunor, who was nominated again for this year's Order of National Artists, was bypassed again for the award.

 

Leading the honorees is musician Ryan Cayabyab, whose sentimental compositions such as “Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika” and Smokey Mountain’s “Paraiso” have defined original Filipino music.

 

The other awardees are Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa for architecture, director Eric de Guia or “Kidlat Tahimik” for Film, historian Resil Mojares for literature, and children’s theater advocate Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio for theater.

 

The award was also conferred posthumously on Ilonggo writer Ramon Muzones for literature and cartoonist Larry Alcala for visual arts.

 

The National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCAA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) recommended the bestowal of the honors and the President makes the final decision.

 

A living national artist receives a cash award of P100,000 while the heirs of a posthumous awardee get P75,000. Benefits include a monthly life pension, life insurance, medical and hospitalization assistance, a place of honor at national state functions and a state funeral at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

 

The awardee is given the title of national artist, an insignia, a citation, a lifetime emolument, as well as benefits, honors and privileges afforded to the highest officials of the country.

 

Supporters of Nora Aunor had mounted a strong lobby for her declaration as national artist in previous years but the award-winning actress was bypassed.

 

Sabrina Tan, NCCA project coordinator, said Nora Aunor was automatically renominated since she was a previous nominee.

 

In 2014, Nora Aunor was among the final nominees for the award, but was omitted from the final list signed by then President Beningo Aquino III, who later said it was the actress’ history with illegal substances that cost her the title.

 

The Order of National Artists was established under by then President Ferdinand Marcos through Proclamation No. 1001 (s. 1972) to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters.

 

The President also proclaimed three folk artists — weavers Estelita Bantilan of Sarangani, Ambalang Ausalin of Basilan and Yabing Dulo of South Cotabato — as Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan or National Living Treasures.

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