Three longtime fixtures in Manny Pacquiao fights will be sorely missed on November 23 in Macau.
Eminent boxing guru Hermie Rivera says he is skipping this fight in view of advices from his doctors to refrain from strenuous activities. A 13-hour or so flight from LA to Hong Kong or Macau indeed will be stressful for the witty man of boxing sidelines.
Manong Hermie, as I defer to him, Ka Recah Trinidad and me had beautiful moments and exchanges in the media room in Macau last year while we covered the Pacquiao-Rios fight. Unlike in General Santos a few years back (in 2010), however, Manong Hermie and me did not have the luxury of being with the company of the Philippine’s favorite beer –San Miguel Beer and SML – in Macau.
I however take solace that, with Ed Alinea thrown into the crowd, I was the youngest gatecrasher to the company of sports writing greats.
Another fixture, longtime Pacquiao lawyer Franklin ‘Jeng’Gacal Jr, will also be missed for the 3rd straight fight of the Filipino boxing icon. Gacal suffered a near fatal stroke weeks before the November 25 Pacquiao-Rios fight. I was among the early visitors of Gacal when he was rushed to the intensive care unit at the St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Gacal also failed to watch the Pacquiao-Bradley II fight in Las Vegas.
Before he was admitted to a clinical trial for a medical breakthrough in Arizona, Jeng said he will definitely go to Macau. Many are hoping to see him there for the first time since his medical case. Unfortunately, he had to leave for the US early this month for a 2-month clinical care.
Another permanent figure whose incisive reporting will be sorely missed is Chino Trinidad.
Chino and Pacquiao had a falling out weeks after the Pacquiao-Rios fight in Macau last year. Me and Chino, whose father Recah was the first sports writer I followed when I was growing up idolizing Rolando Navarette and Robert Jaworksi, first personally met in Macau after having been long time Facebook friends.
After that falling out, Chino said he has had enough of anything that has to do with Pacquiao.
Their presence or absence will surely not go unnoticed and unlamented.
With a new coterie of advisers, hangers on and entourage, Pacquiao will obviously not bother his self in missing them.
Pacquiao is slated to make his grand arrival in the Venetian on November 18 and will hold a press conference shortly thereafter along with Chris Algieri. The weigh in will be held at Cotai Arena, venue of the fight on November 22, a Saturday.
Pacquiao will leave on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight on November 17 and will immediately fly home after the post-fight press conference.