Thursday, March 11, 2010

Malacañang concerned about Clottey’s tactics

Malacañang Thursday advised Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao to focus on his fight against Joshua Clottey this weekend and set aside his political ambitions for the moment.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said Pacquiao should particularly watch out for Clottey's "dirty tactics" in their World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight fight on March 13 in Texas.

He said Pacquiao risks getting hurt if he loses his focus on his challenger and worry about his political plans in May.

"We advise to him to watch out for headbutting since Clottey plays dirty. We advise Manny Pacquiao to be careful about dirty tactics by Mr. Clottey," Olivar said in a news conference in the Palace.

Olivar said the government is confident that Pacquiao, considered the world's greatest boxer, could defeat Clottey and keep his welterweight crown.

"We fully expect that Pacquiao will win. We hope he will not be severely injured by the dirty tactics that may be done by Clottey," he added.

He said the Palace continues to support Pacquiao despite reports he is allied with the political party of presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

"Manny is a Filipino who we can be proud of and a national treasure. Politics is just secondary," he added.

Once the fight is over, Olivar said the Palace would respect any decision of the pound-for-pound king Pacquiao whether he would stay in boxing, retire, or pursue politics.

President Arroyo, a self-confessed fan of Pacquiao, has often paid tribute to the boxer after his every bout abroad.

Last year, she conferred the Order of Sikatuna to Pacquiao with rank of Datu for the honor he has brought to the country. He has won seven world titles in seven weight divisions, earning accolades as the world’s greatest boxer.

A few years ago, Pacquiao was bestowed the Order of Lakandula with the rank of “Champion for Life” for his unprecedented feat in international boxing.


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