While Manny Pacquiao is a prohibitive favorite heading into Saturday’s bout against Antonio Magarito at Cowboys Stadium in Texas, there are those who smell an upset brewing. Manny may have suffered defeat in the ring just once in the last 11 years, but some feel his election to the Philippines congress in May of this year has caused him to lose focus.
Manny takes his role as congressman seriously, continuing to meet with political figures and thrash out local issues during his training, even after he’d left the Philippines and arrived in the Lone Star state. Manny is now 32 and openly musing about retirement. Win or lose, he’ll take home at least $15m tonight, so is he really motivated enough to put his all into this bout?
Distracted or not, it may not matter. After all, Manny has the world’s most awesome corner man. Or corner deity, as it were. Monsignor Esteban Binghay, vicar of the archdiocese of Cebu in the Philippines, has included a special prayer into his services leading up to Saturday’s bout. “Manny’s victory will also be our victory,” says the man of the cloth, who promises an Episcopal party in the pews when Manny triumphs.
So to sum up, Margarito is the underdog, while God is the favorite. By way of precedent, the Old Testatment says that Jacob once wrestled an Angel and woke up lame the next morning. Good luck walking tomorrow, Antonio.