Top Rank boss Bob Arum on Wednesday said Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao had played a big role in securing a stay in the scheduled execution of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia on Tuesday.
“When I read Manny’s letter to the Indonesian President [Joko Widodo] the other day, I was really impressed that he [Pacquiao] made an effort,” Arum told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “Then just few hours later, the woman [Veloso] was spared while the eight other foreigners were already executed.”
Only seven foreigners were put to death by firing squad; the other condemned was an Indonesian.
“Pacquiao’s letter to the Indonesian President and the new development are now trending worldwide. I’m going to bring this up [at]the press conference. It’s really incredible and huge,” Arum said.
He pointed out that the Filipino boxing superstar has more followers than President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“Pacquiao has a million followers and that’s why he is instrumental [in]that [reprieve for Mary Jane]. He has more followers than the Philippine President. I’m happy to know that the entire Philippines is rejoicing. Saturday night, they will rejoice again when Manny wins his fight.”
The reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight titleholder, Pacquiao will battle World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, Saturday (May 3, Sunday in Manila) in a unification match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A part of Pacquiao’s letter to the Indonesian President read, “His Excellency, President Joko Widodo, I am Manny Pacquiao. On behalf of my countryman, Mary Jane Veloso, and the entire Filipino people, I am begging and knocking on your kind heart that Your Excellency will grant executive clemency to her by sparing her life and saving her from execution.”
“Mr. President, on 2 May I’ll be fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Floyd Mayweather. It is considered the fight of the century. It will be a great morale booster if, in my own little way, I can save a life. I am dedicating this fight to my country and the entire Asian people, to which the Philippines and Indonesia belong. Thank you, Mr. President.”
Pacquiao, according to Arum, is very inspired by the development in Veloso’s case.
“Manny is still undergoing a light training here in Las Vegas. He is really inspired when he heard this new development,” he said. “He will do his best on the fight night.”