President Rodrigo Duterte wishes Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao good luck in his scheduled boxing match against Jessie Vargas on November 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speaking to reporters in Davao City on Tuesday night, the President said he prayed that Pacquiao will stop Vargas during the early rounds.
“[I’m no] boxing expert but I hope… If it does happen, it does happen. [It should be in the early rounds],” Duterte told a news conference.
“[Because if it goes beyond seven to eight rounds, he could tire out. He might lose his punching power. I hope he can do it within the first two rounds. Manny can hit him, knock him down],” he said.
Pacquiao will battle Vargas for the WBO welterweight championship in his comeback fight, after which he may be in line for a bout against the unbeaten Terence Crawford.
Crawford (29-0) holds multiple titles at light welterweight (140 pounds), and will defend them against John Molina Jr. on December 10.
Duterte, a friend and a fan of the Filipino champion, said Pacquiao was always good to him even before the latter became a global superstar.
He disclosed that while he was still Davao City mayor, Pacquiao always offered him a couple of tickets for him to watch the fight live abroad.
“[Every time he fights, he would always say, ‘I have two tickets for you, Mayor.’ We’ve been friends even before he became popular],” Duterte said.
“[I’ll pray for you. I told him I don’t have time and I have no money to spend to go watch the fight abroad. I told him, ‘I’ll pray for you’],” the President added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE