Arum: Pacquiao fight not in conflict with elections
Dino Maragay (philstar.com) - February 22, 2016 - 10:20pm

MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief Inc. Bob Arum said postponing Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Timothy Bradley this April is not an option, stressing there is no conflict of interest between the bout and Pacquiao’s bid to become Philippine senator.

Speaking to Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Arum reacted to a senatorial bet’s petition urging the Commission on Elections to halt Pacquiao’s third fight with Bradley on the grounds that it violates the fair elections law.

Former congressman Walden Bello on Monday claimed Pacquiao’s scheduled fight on April 9 in Las Vegas (April 10 in Manila) gives the boxer an unfair advantage in the form of extensive exposure for his campaign as senator.

But Arum on Tuesday countered that there is nothing to worry about, insisting that the Pacquiao-Bradley fight will proceed as planned.

"This is like the (US presidential candidate) Donald Trump birther issue (with Ted Cruz)," Arum told Carp. "There's no chance the (election) commission will force him to postpone the fight. Our attorneys looked into this very carefully before we made the fight (with Bradley) and there was nothing there to suggest Manny's fighting constitutes a conflict of interest in terms of campaigning.

The Comelec earlier said it will study whether the fight indeed violates election law.

Arum, however, said Pacquiao had been in the same situation before when he ran for congressman of South Cotabato province in 2007, wherein he lost to then incumbent Darlene Antonino-Custodio.

A month before the poll that time, Pacquiao fought and defeated Jorge Solis in San Antonio Texas, a fight also perceived to give Pacquiao unfair advantage in his campaign. Nevertheless, the fight went on.

Arum, for his part, said they will steer clear of campaigning in the US for Pacquiao’s senatorial bid in the lead-up to the Bradley fight.

"The rule is plain — you can't publicize that you're running for office. We're not going to be holding any (political) rallies for Manny while he's here in the States preparing to fight Bradley. But he still has to be very careful what he says," the veteran promoter explained.

Aside from his senatorial bid, Pacquiao has hogged the headlines in the past few days due to his controversial comments on same-sex relationships, which gained further attention when it led to Nike dropping the boxer as an endorser.

Pacquiao has already apologized for the remark and brushed off the Nike issue, saying he remains focused on training for Bradley.

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