WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao said on Thursday that he is “not affected” by his out-of-the-ring problems heading into his June 9 defense against WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao is the focus of an ongoing investigation related to tax issues in his native Philippines.
“I am not affected. That is nothing to me,” said the 33-year-old Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), who has a 15-bout winning streak that includes eight knockouts heading into his bout with Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs).
“I have been reading the bible to gain strength and inspiration. I am still focused and I won’t allow these issues to affect my concentration.”
Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, agreed that the fighter is not distracted by the complaint filed by the Philippines’ Bureau for Internal Revenue, which could land Pacquiao in jail for up to two years if found guilty of the charges.
“Manny’s been in boxing long enough, and I’ve always said that he’s a tremendous multi-tasker,” said Koncz of Pacquiao, who plans to file a countersuit aimed at the BIR.
“So he knows how important this fight is, and he’s going to to be focused, and when he says that he already is, then I believe him.”
During an interview with RingTV.com, Bradley also dismissed the out-of-the ring issues as being an issue for Pacquiao.
“I really don’t pay attention to it, but I don’t think that it’s going to have any kind of affect on our fight, whatever he’s going through,” said Bradley, 28. “It won’t affect his performance. I think that he’ll be full-fledged ready and there won’t be any distractions. He’ll be ready to face me.”
“I just think that his political people are saying that there are problems, but that’s just how politics are. I don’t think that there is a tax problem. I’ve talked to Manny. There won’t be any distractions. He said that he’s going to stay out of the bars and the clubs,” said Roach.
Other recent developments for Pacquiao have included the fighter’s claim that he is being encouraged by God to retire and his vow to eliminate his gambling and womanizing vices.
“He’s going to stay away from the gambling,” said Roach. “Everything that he says that he’s going to do will make it easier for me. The part where he said God and boxing might not go together, he told me that he knows that God understands that it’s a sport.”
But Kim Henares, of the BIR, said Pacquiao’s actions are furthering the controversy.
“If there is [negative] publicity, it is fuelled by Congressman Pacquiao,” Henares was quoted by The Associated Press. “If he just does the simple thing of presenting the documents, then the case will be closed.”
Calling it an “honest mix-up,” Koncz said there was “never any intention to circumvent taxes.”
“I think that the tax issue has been over-inflated. There’s no issue. Perhaps one document or a few documents,” said Koncz, who told RingTV.com that he expects the issue to be resolved.
“I don’t handle the taxes, but there was 100 percent never any intention to circument taxes or anything, so whatever the problem is, it’s an honest mistake and an honest mix-up on our part.”
Koncz also took issue with Pacquiao’s having been investigated for housing a fugitive who is being investigated for alleged association with a stolen car racket.
“I don’t have a comment on that,” said Koncz. “That’s already old f–king news.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com