More on politics than prizefight: Manny finds an ally in Clinton
By Abac Cordero Updated Friday April 04, 2014 - 12:00am

Manny Pacquiao

LOS ANGELES - Manny Pacquiao, all set for a big rematch with Tim Bradley, received some form of an endorsement from Bill Clinton, once the most powerful person in the world.

But it didn't concern the sport of boxing. It was more about politics.

The former President of the United States appeared in the popular late-night show Jimmel Kimmel Live! aired here close to midnight Wednesday.

Clinton is aware that Pacquiao is now a congressman in the Philippines and to some extent has entertained thoughts of himself become the President one day.

To the former US Chief Executive, nothing is impossible.

"He's already in the Philippine Congress and I hope he goes up on that ladder," said Clinton of the Filipino boxer, one of the most charitable individuals in his country.

"I think he's a great guy and he's a great role model for the country and he's very strong and honest and he's thinking about the rest of his life," Clinton added.

Then he talked about the individuals who are trying to make the most of their time. He mentioned former basketball superstar Magic Johnson.

"One thing I love about Magic Johnson is that when he had to quit his basketball career prematurely he always wanted to be good in business and inspire young people who couldn't be athletes," he said.

"And he got out of that just as good as he was in basketball. It's when you do something you can't do forever and not wishing you can do something you can't do anymore," added Clinton.

Backstage, before the start of program, Clinton and Pacquiao met each other. It wasn't the first because in 2009 they had a brief encounter in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao took the spotlight after Clinton left.

During the show, a photograph of Clinton and Pacquiao was flashed on the screen. They were both smiling as the Filipino held a closed fist up.

"That was a long time ago," said Pacquiao, gazing at the screen.

Then Kimmel asked, "Did the Secret Service get nervous when you raised your fist to the President. That seems to be a risky move right there."

And they laughed with the live audience.

When told that Clinton talked about him moving up the political "ladder" Pacquiao didn't seem ready to make a commitment.

"Right now I'm focused on position as a congressman," said Pacquiao, whose wife, Jinkee, is also in the political ring now as Vice Governor of Sarangani.

Kimmel asked if it was Jinkee who has plans of becoming the President, and Pacquiao, surprised and smiling, said, "That's a far (long) way to go."

The Pacquiaos are expecting their fifth child by the end of the month, and the boxer said they've decided to name the child, their third son, as Israel.

"Are you Jewish?" Kimmel asked Pacquiao.

Pacquiao said while they expect the baby to come out by the end of the month, there's a possibility that it might come on the day of the fight.

But Pacquiao said it will not stop him from climbing the ring to face Bradley, who defeated him via a controversial decision in June 2012.

"No," said Pacquiao if he was willing to cancel the fight for the baby.

Kimmel considers Pacquiao a friend, and described the 2012 loss to Bradley as a "terrible injustice" and "terrible decision."

Looking at the fight, Pacquiao vowed to be as aggressive as he used to be, and in previous interviews he said he doesn't want to leave his fate in the hands of the judges.

"I'm not thinking about the knockout but if the knockout comes it comes. I just want to prove to him my killer instinct is always there," he said.

Pacquiao said he was "too nice" to Bradley the first time they fought.

But this time, the pleasantries will come later.

"Finish first the fight and thenÂ… you know," said Pacquiao.

"Then you can be nice," said Kimmel.

Again, Pacquiao laughed.

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