Pacquiao vs. Duterte

There’s trouble on both fronts for Manny Pacquiao, the boxer-turned-politician. First there was that case filed by Paradigm, which sued Pacquiao for facing Errol Spence Jr. instead of Mikey Garcia. Aside from aiming to stop the fight, Paradigm wants to recover $3.3 million, which it allegedly advanced to Pacquiao.

The Pacman, and his lawyers both in the United States and here, have dismissed the suit as frivolous, telling the Manila Bulletin that: “Sadly, this frivolous lawsuit intends to distract my preparations for a historic fight. But it does not bother me a bit.” But on Tuesday morning, Pacquiao, like millions of other Filipinos who have a normal sleep cycle, woke up to the distraction of the decade, one that he nor his team couldn’t readily dismiss as frivolous.

I’m talking about the latest edition of the Late Night with the President weekly show, when Duterte threatened the Pacman, “I will expose you daily as a liar. I know you from way back.”

LATEST VICTIM. Manny Pacquiao, a former ally, is the latest victim of President Duterte’s sensitivity to criticisms.

Why the rift in the partymates? Well in the lead up to the Spence fight, I haven’t seen any videos of Manny training but in the past few days, I saw a video, seemingly taken clandestinely, of Manny saying corruption under the Duterte government is worse than in the Aquino government.

Before, when Manny was involved in a contract dispute, during his aborted jump from Top Rank to Golden Boy, the whole country was with him. Today, his base of supporters, which has gone down owing to his politics, has been fractured some more with the rift in his own party.

And with a president that has a solid online army—both organic and troll-powered—the next few days will be online hell for Manny. I mean, if some people from this online army went below the belt during the death of a former president, there’s no telling how low they’d go against Manny.

Digong’s threat is interesting too, since Davao hosted Pacquiao’s defense of his IBF super bantam title against Prayat Sawaingam on Oct. 26, 2002 at the Rizal Memorial Colleges. Will Digong expose what went behind the scenes in that fight? If his expose will be related to women, I’ll sure Manny will overcome it since we all know he’s not the same guy as he was in 2002.

But still, it’s a distraction and given how some of his rabid supporters are quick to wish ill of anyone who dares criticize the president, will we be seeing a lot of “I hope you lose” comments?

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