Clearing the road to Tokyo
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2020 - 12:00am

Signing a contract to turn pro with MP Promotions has assured Olympic middleweight boxing qualifier Eumir Marcial a clear path to Tokyo with Sen. Manny Pacquiao himself declaring he’ll do whatever he can to support the bid to capture the Philippines’ first gold medal in the Summer Games.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons was in charge of negotiating the deal to lock up Marcial and his only motivation was to bring the country’s brightest hope for an Olympic gold medal to Pacquiao’s camp. “I never chased Eumir,” he said in a phone conversation from Las Vegas yesterday. “I only spoke to Eumir, nobody else although I was told a lot of people were giving him all sorts of advice. He asked about TV rights but I told him what TV rights? Things just aren’t normal right now.”

Gibbons said all he wanted was for Marcial to link up with Pacquiao. “I couldn’t think of Eumir signing up with somebody else,” he said. “That would be a national embarrassment. Now that Eumir is with the Senator, we can begin planning what to do.” Gibbons declined to disclose how much of a signing bonus Marcial was promised. “It’s broken up in several parts,” he said. “It’s a good amount of money, enough to take care of Eumir, his family and his loved ones. When we fly Eumir to the US will depend on Al Haymon of PBC (Premier Boxing Champions). Once we know when his fight is, whom he’ll fight and where, then we’ll move to bring him over. I expect his first fight in late October or early November. Maybe, we’ll do another fight in January. It’ll all depend on how he does, like if Eumir scores a first round knockout in his first fight, then he can do another fight right away. I figure maybe, two or three fights before he goes to the Olympics.”

Gibbons said he was informed that the US Embassy could start conducting interviews for visas on July 31. “I don’t think Eumir has a problem traveling,” he said. “He’s been all over the world with the national boxing team. Once Al sets a fight, we’ll figure out what to do, when to fly him over. Maybe, we’ll fly him over in mid-October.”

Gibbons said he hasn’t discussed with Marcial who his traveling companions will be. “We’ll talk about it,” he said. “It could be his girlfriend or a trainer. We don’t know yet. That’ll be up to Eumir. I’m thinking of trying him out with Freddie (Roach) at Wild Card in L. A. Mark (Magsayo) is working out with Freddie and Justin (Fortune). Freddie knows Filipinos and southpaws. I’d like Eumir to give it a shot with Freddie. Let’s see how they connect. Again, it’ll be up to Eumir whom he works with.”

Gibbons said the contract is for four years with a possible two-year extension if and when Marcial becomes a world champion. “A lot of things can happen in four to six years,” he said. “There was a point when I didn’t talk to Eumir for maybe 10 days to two weeks. Then, he called and we got it done.”

Gibbons said he expects Marcial to be as disciplined in training as Magsayo who’s staying at an AirBandB place behind Wild Card in L.A. with his wife Frances. “You don’t need to hold Mark’s hand,” said Gibbons. “He’s an adult. He knows his business. It’s home to gym to home, nothing more. They’re just staying close to home. This COVID-19 is scary. Mark and Frances know it. They’re in synch with each other, they’re not taking any chances. At the moment, Wild Card is closed because of rising virus cases in California. When it reopens, you can be sure Mark will be the first one in. When Eumir comes over, I know he’ll be disciplined and focused. We want him to be ready for the Olympics. We want that Olympic gold.”

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