Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent last week boosting his foreign policy credentials touring and meeting with leaders in South Korea, Japan and the Philippines, but all The Daily Caller really cared about during its interview with the senator was his meeting with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, a world boxing champion in a record eight-weight divisions, who also happens to be a Filipino congressman, had a tete-a-tete with the Republican senator during Rubio’s visit to Manila.
“Obviously we talked a little boxing — I’m a boxing fan, and he’s a boxer,” Rubio told TheDC about the meeting, where the senator gave Pacquiao an autographed copy of his autobiography, and Pacquiao gave Rubio a figurine of himself. “So I tried to see if I could get any inside information from him whether the Mayweather fight will ever happen.”
For years, boxing fans have been salivating over a potential matchup between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the world’s highest paid athlete and boxing’s pound-for-pound king. Despite the fact the fight will almost certainly be the most lucrative in boxing history, so far the two camps have been unable to seal a deal. So did Rubio find out any inside information?
Pacquiao “said he wants to fight,” Rubio said, noting that he didn’t exactly learn anything new on the issue. Rubio was quick to add that his conversation with Pacquiao didn’t just focus on boxing.
“But obviously we talked about an issue he is engaged in — and I am as well — which is human trafficking,” Rubio said. “It’s an issue he’s become involved in through his service in the Congress over there, and so we exchanged numbers and potentially may be able to work on something together at some point when he is here in the States or somewhere else. I mean, it’s an issue he’s made a priority.”
Another priority of Pacquiao’s might be to set himself right with the tax man. He has recently been accused of not paying hefty tax bills, both in his native Philippines and in the U.S., where he owns a home in Los Angeles. According IRS documents obtained by TMZ, Pacquiao allegedly owes north of $18 million dollars. Of course, the champ says the issue is being handled — but did he bring up his tax problem with the powerful Florida senator?
“No, he didn’t,” Rubio said. “And I’m sure he’s got lawyers handling that. And I’m sure he’ll get paid up there. That’s why he’s fighting again.”
“I don’t know how big his take will be for this next fight — I don’t think it is pay per view — I think it is a Showtime fight,” Rubio continued.
TheDC informed Rubio that that the fight is actually on HBO Pay Per View and Pacquiao is set to make $20 million dollars — plus a piece of the pay per view upside.
“Ahh, he’ll probably have to pay it all to the IRS then,” Rubio said. “But, I mean, the big pay day, which I think erodes every year that goes by, is the Mayweather fight. And that would have been the biggest fight in history two years ago.”
Rubio’s right. As time marches on, Pacquiao-Mayweather becomes less interesting — especially after Pacquiao was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. But the fight still remains the most desired fight in boxing. If the fight is ever to happen, it definitely won’t happen the first half of this year. Pacquiao is set to avenge his controversial loss — perhaps the greatest robbery in recent boxing history — to Timothy Bradley in April, and Mayweather is scheduled to fight the first weekend in May, though his opponent has not yet been named.
“Pacquiao needs to win. If he loses again, that fight ain’t going to matter,” Rubio said, continuing his musings on a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao super fight.