By Nick Giongco
Manny Pacquiao has decided to stay in the Philippines instead of attending Friday night’s Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) banquet at the Capitale in New York. Pacquiao was interviewed by a TV network and his handlers confirmed that the pound-for-pound king has opted to remain in the country and go on a vacation instead in Bohol or Dakak, two well-known local destinations. The BWAA named Pacquiao as Fighter of the Year for 2008, the second time Pacquiao will get the award after being voted in 2006. Pacquiao was on hand when he got the 2006 award at the Copacabana, also in New York. Pacquiao will also miss Saturday night’s big fights featuring prospective foe Miguel Cotto at the Madison Square Garden. Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser Mike Koncz said in a text message Tuesday night that he will instead fly to New York to accept the BWAA award “on Pacquiao’s behalf.” Koncz said he hasn’t talked with Top Rank head Bob Arum about Pacquiao’s decision “but I left message on his phone.” Koncz said Pacquiao cited family commitments as reason for his decision not to go. In the event Pacquiao makes a last-minute decision to go, he can still make it to the Big Apple if he leaves Manila on Friday morning via Northwest Airlines. Owing to the time difference, Pacquiao will arrive there on the same day.