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Sulaiman backs planned Pacquiao comeback


‘There are few individuals that are outstanding and extraordinary that can do things that others cannot.’

Manny Pacquiao (right) gets the full backing of WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WENDELL ALINEA

Amid speculations that Manny Pacquiao is on the verge of formally announcing his return, the World Boxing Council (WBC) leadership immediately came to his defense with no less than the Mexico City-based boxing body’s president taking the lead.

“There are few individuals that are outstanding and extraordinary that can do things that others cannot,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told DAILY TRIBUNE.

Pacquiao, almost three years removed from active duty in the ring, is eager to make a comeback and his intentions were on full display when he engaged British banger Conor Benn in an intense staredown in Riyadh recently.

“Without a doubt, he is extraordinary. The way I saw him, it changed my mind. I have always been concerned over a time where the best is behind them. There are very few who can tell a great story, (Muhammad) Ali, Sugar Ray (Leonard), (Julio Cesar) Chavez, (Roberto) Duran, (Thomas) Hearns. All disasters.”

Ali was stopped by Larry Holmes in his last fight while Leonard suffered the only knockout loss of his career in 1997 when he was brutalized by the light-hitting Puerto Rican Hector Camacho.

Chavez, the pride of Mexico, took a bad beating from Grover Wiley in his farewell match while Duran had to bow to Camacho when the Panamanian was already 50 years old.

Although Hearns called it quits even if he had won two straight, he was used as a stepping stone by the up-and-coming during the tail-end of his exemplary career.

But Sulaiman, who has presided over the WBC in 2014 following the death of his father Jose, who ruled starting in 1975, feels the Filipino won’t suffer the same fate of the names of the fabled fighters he had just rattled off.

Of course, Sulaiman insists “medical tests” should be done before Pacquiao is allowed to stage a comeback but is nonetheless confident the eight-division legend won’t pass all of them.

“The opponent is a young guy (with) speed, power and stamina, then you have the wise ring generalship and experience of a veteran (like Pacquiao) and I have seen great fighters give lessons to great prospects. Manny is not a concern for me and I think he can still fight at this time,” he added.

Pacquiao is so convinced that he can turn back the hands of time anew that his group will relay to the Saudi Arabia stakeholders of his desire to proceed with the Benn fight.

Pacquiao, who turned 45 last December, and his right-hand man Sean Gibbons and Sulaiman himself even did a video holding a WBC belt greeting Turki Al-Sheikh and expressing keen interest in doing the Benn bout.

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