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Forbes: Not the first time Nike axed Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – Nike’s decision to drop Manny Pacquiao as endorser is not the first for the sports apparel giant.

This after Forbes reported that the company did not sign Pacquiao to a fresh contract after their first deal expired in 2012.

Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen said that Nike wanted to evaluate what the boxer could still bring to the table after losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in that same year – the last one a shocking knockout.

“This is not the first time Nike dropped Pacquiao as an endorser,” wrote Badenhausen.

“Nike did not renew their partnership after it expired at the end of 2012. There were calls for Nike to drop Pacquiao in the first half of that year when he made similar comments about same-sex marriages, but Nike waited to see Pacquiao’s performance in the ring. It wasn’t good," he added.

Pacquiao, who is in the middle of controversy after issuing derogatory remarks toward same-sex couples, had been wrongly accused of issuing almost the same comments a few years ago, something he denied.

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That’s when Nike and other companies which had Pacquiao as their endorser started distancing themselves from the boxer.

“He [Pacquiao] lost both his fights, including a devastating knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. Almost all of Pacquiao’s endorsement partners walked away at that point with Pacquiao looking like a shot fighter. Nike walked away too, according to Pacquiao’s camp,” Badenhausen continued.

“Pacquiao returned to the ring in November 2013 and registered two straight wins, which brought Nike back to the table in the second half of 2014. Nike launched a line of hoodies and t-shirts in April 2015 ahead of the [Floyd] Mayweather bout.”

Pacquiao’s controversial statement, wherein he claimed that people in same-sex relations are "worse than animals," turned out to be the last straw for Nike, whose sales of the boxer’s apparel were reportedly affected by the uneventful fight with Mayweather.

“Pacquiao’s camp hoped defeating Mayweather would send sales skyrocketing for the Nike line. Instead, Pacquiao had a listless performance against Mayweather, which he blamed on a shoulder injury. Sales of the Nike Pacquiao line have been limited and royalties were expected to generate less than $1 million this year for Pacman,” Badenhausen added.

Pacquiao has apologized for the remarks, but he maintained his stance on the issue due to his religious belief.

Nike officially parted ways with Pacquiao early Thursday, saying it will no longer have dealings with the Filipino icon.

"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the company said in a statement. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the [lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals] LGBT community."

The company is no stranger to cutting ties with its big-name athlete endorsers. According to ESPN.com, Nike has dropped former cyclist Lance Armstrong, running back Ray Rice, running back Adrian Peterson and sprinter Oscar Pistorius as endorsers over the past four years.

Pacquiao will return to the ring for the last time against Timothy Bradley on April 9 in Las Vegas (April 10 Manila time).

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