The Manny Pacquiao world tour rolled into Washington D.C. yesterday, with Pacquiao giving a press conference to discuss his advocacy for Senator Harry Reid and, of course, promote his upcoming May 7 fight with Shane Mosley.
The listed goal for this stop was for Pacquiao, who was recently elected to Congress in his native Philippines, to share his mutual admiration for Reid. But seeing as the tour is about promoting his upcoming fight, boxing ended up being what dominated much of the press conference. Not only did reporters ask about that fight, but the subject of an eventual fight with Floyd Mayweather also came up. Here's what Pacquiao had to say about that, via Gene Wang of the Washington Post.
"For me, if the fight is to happen, it would be good for the fans," Pacquiao said. "It's what the fans want. For now though, I'm praying for [Mayweather] that it will be okay, you know, with his personal problems."
Otherwise, though, the whole thing seemed like a spectacle that pointed to one thing: Pacquiao is bigger than boxing. That point was driven home by SB Nation's Luke Thomas, who wrote that Pacquiao is so big that boxing may slip even further into irrelevancy once he leaves.
He is bigger than boxing. It's true he is too big for boxing to fail, but only while he's around. His eventual absence from the sport will only uncover what Pacquiao himself can barely disguise: pessimism and profound indifference about the sport, that when he competes, gets even the pretenders to care.
Until that day, however, we enjoy the Pacquiao phenomenon. We enjoy the undulating path of this world achiever. We enjoy his gifts to the sport from which he came and we enjoy a real life bildungsroman story in our lifetime.
Pacquiao clearly has loftier goals than winning a boxing fight. Yesterday's press conference proved it.