May 11, 2010

An elated Bob Arum, the Top Rank promoter who was one of the few people who predicted that Manny Pacquiao would win ("by a landslide") against Roy Chiongbian in the lone congressional district of the Philippines province of Sarangani, prepared to leave for Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon with a wide "I told you so" grin across his face.

"Winning this election -- for me, and certainly for Manny -- is the greater thrill than any fight," Arum said from the Philippines. "It reminded me completely of the Oscar De La Hoya fight when everybody before the fight said it is a mismatch and De La Hoya is going to kill him. And it was a mismatch, but it was a mismatch the other way because Manny destroyed De La Hoya.

"Manny was talking to me about a landslide. He really believed he would win by a landslide. That's the way he believed he would shut De La Hoya up. He convinced me."

Arum recalled that after he'd attended rallies in Kiamba and another municipality, he felt that Pacquiao "had the situation under control and he was going to win. A landslide I never expected. Every single precinct, including the precinct where his opponent has a plantation -- Manny didn't lose in one precinct."

Asked what it meant to him and why he appeared so excited, Arum replied, "I really love the kid. He is such a wonderful, wonderful person and I know how much he wants this. And because he wanted this so much, I wanted it for him."

Arum quickly dismissed speculation that Pacquiao wouldn't fight again.

"Of course he's going to fight," Arum said. "I always knew he was going to fight and I'm off back to the States and I'm going to be working very, very hard to make the [Floyd] Mayweather Jr. fight because that's the fight everybody wants to see."

Added Arum: "If we can't make that, then there are other fights, like [Antonio] Margarito and the winner of Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman, but absolutely everybody wants to see the Mayweather fight, the congressman wants the Mayweather fight and we are going to get it for him."

Arum disclosed that Nov. 13 is the date when Pacquiao will fight again.

"I have reserved the date and both the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and MGM Grand in Las Vegas are available," Arum said. "The cable systems and the satellite providers have put the date aside for us, so the table is set. Manny can get sworn in at the end of June, then attend the sessions of congress in July and -- as long as he keeps in shape -- then he has plenty of time to train for the fight."

While Arum said everyone he'd spoken with at HBO and the Top Rank offices were thrilled, he didn't think Mayweather would react the same way.

"[Mayweather] doesn't appreciate, I think, this type of achievement because it's so far out of his trend of thought and his reach," Arum said.

Arum also said he believes that being a congressman won't be a distraction but "a psychological boost."

"He will find that he will now do more productive things when he's not training and that will make him a better fighter and a more dedicated person," Arum said. "I think this is a real plus. The confidence that it will give him to have this lifelong dream of being identified as a congressman when he's introduced at press conferences and in the ring is something spectacular."

Arum said that while in Sarangani he said to himself, "People would have to be nuts not to vote for him because the whole world will now know this province and the Philippines even better. This is a worldwide story. He is going to be more of a celebrity now than he was before."

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