Bag It, Pac-Man!Written by Marc Livitz
Perhaps the biggest draw in the sports world has decided to pursue yet another challenge, but it's not in the form of an unprecedented ninth weight class. If he's brave enough to take on Sergio Martinez one day, he'll become an even larger than life figure, especially if he triumphs.
Of course, he's facing a big obstacle in Juan Manuel Marquez. Dinamita is no walkover. The fight will be entertaining. We've seen Juan Manuel sing, but when he does, it's just for fun. He teams up with Mariachis from time to time and has a "go" at a good, yet brief time.
Manny Pacquiao has (according to some sources) an estimated net worth of over $70 million dollars. Add to that the fact that he's got $70 million in the Philippines, where a few bucks go a bit further.
As a fighter, he has the hopes of millions on his shoulders. He's a typhoon once the opening bell sounds and he needs no help at all in the ring. As far as the recording studio, he can't get enough help, it seems. His cause is not at all strengthened when he is surrounded by throngs of people who can't or won't tell him to bag his singing career.
There's crossing over and then there's falling over.
Manny hasn't been dropped in a fight in a long time. The shove from Shane Mosley doesn't count. By now, much of the boxing public and beyond has heard the Pac-Man's rendition of the classic sappy tune by Dan Hill, "Sometimes When We Touch".
The writer of this article was a wee lad when the song was originally popular. Some never understood the meaning of the lyrics. Specifically, how can you hold someone until you die and break down and cry at the same time? But that's neither here nor there.
Manny is one of the greatest fighters of our generation and we won't see the likes of him again soon. He can't sing, though.
Many have his back under all circumstances. Reviews on his iTunes page range from, "Stick to Boxing" and "well, you can't fault him for trying". That's like saying as long as William Hung gave everything he had, then we could take him seriously as a singer and not a Karaoke wrecking machine.
One would imagine that the political arena would take away enough of Manny's time. When things have come to the point that Paris Hilton is wearing a Pacquiao t-shirt, well, it's time to back into the gym. Did the release of a love songs CD help Oscar de la Hoya win anything meaningful back in the late 90's? Anyone remember his music? If you don't, that's ok.
We live in the digital age now. Perceptions can be altered with adequate software and an average Joe or Jane can become a sensation. Even a movie star can have a catchy (painfully catchy) pop career as long as they have "the best" in their corner. The best meaning a great sound engineer and an auto-tuner. Just ask Jennifer Lopez.
If the people of the Philippines didn't elect Manny Pacquiao when he initially ran for congress because they didn't want him to stop boxing, then why must so many pretend that he shouldn't just stick to his day job?
Sports Illustrated wasn't afraid to tell Michael Jordan to "bag it" when he tried to play professional baseball. Not many athletes can play more than one sport at a professional level. A few athletes have tried. They find success at times, but most remember their greatness in terms of just one.
Quite a few people can't tell you that Deion Sanders also played baseball. Then there's Bo Jackson, who was another dual-sports star. It's refreshing to see Manny get some mainstream publicity. He's got a massive endorsement deal with Nike almost to the point of being the face of the brand. There's also the HP commercial and not to mention the countless sponsors on his boxing trunks. There's likely a few guys who don't have any problems with dandruff, yet they fancy a bottle of Head & Shoulders because of the visibility of the product name which adorns one of Manny's trunk legs.
The Pac-Man is cool enough already.
In his bout versus Antonio Margarito, his ring walk music was one of the underdog fight hymns of the 1980's, "You're the Best" from the Karate Kid. He even had the lead singer from pop group Survivor (cue Rocky III) in his entourage as he made his way to the ring to meet Shane Mosley.
At the conclusion of many of his recent fights, Manny has held private concerts to showcase his singing. Those in the crowd seem to be more mesmerized than an Oprah audience. Pacquiao could likely belt out instructions for a short-wave radio and still polarize the room.
A TV clip shows Manny in the studio with his trademark smile. Everyone seems astounded by his boundless energy. Well, yes. When you can run 10 miles, jump rope for half an hour and so on, then you might have some spare gusto. Did his advisor, Michael Koncz, recently get fired because he told him to give up the microphone unless Larry Merchant is holding it?
Please, though. Manny, your time is short. You've made it known that you've only a few fights left. "Sometimes When We Touch" is one and enough. "Sometimes When You Hit the Canvas" is always a possibility if a fighter doesn't focus the way he should.