By Nick Giongco
Filipinos residing in the US will be heartbroken if boxing’s pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao decides to miss Friday night’s 84th Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) banquet in New York, BWAA president Jack Hirsch told Manila Bulletin and Fightnews on Wednesday. The BWAA had named Pacquiao as recipient of the coveted Fighter of the Year trophy for the second time after being voted as its top awardee in 2006. Pacquiao was on hand when the awards night was held at Copacabana also in the Big Apple. “It will be a tremendous insult to the boxing writers in the United States,” said Hirsch in an email message. There is still time for Pacquiao to make it to the US and boarding a Northwest Airlines jet on Friday morning should bring him to New York three hours before the BWAA event. Hirsch noted that “many Filipino people have already purchased tickets to attend (the awards night at the Capitale)….They will be bitterly disappointed if Pacquiao fails to attend,” said Hirsch, who was elected early this year.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao was disappointed when told about Pacquiao’s decision to stay in the Philippines but he remains hopeful that Pacquiao would have a change of heart. “This is a horrible mistake,” said Arum. “It will be disrespectful to the BWAA if he doesn’t come.” Mike Koncz, Pacquiao’s Los Angeles-based Canadian adviser said the fighter is spending some time with his family for a much-needed rest after “all the meetings he’s attended the past few days.” Koncz said he might instead take the award “on Pacquiao’s behalf.” Aside from the BWAA affair, Arum wants Pacquiao to be at ringside when prospective foe Miguel Cotto fights Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Hirsch said he will get in touch with Arum to know if Pacquiao is indeed determined to stay in the Philippines.