A small price to pay.
This as Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao promised to hand out a 5-million (Philippine peso) incentive to the boxer who will end the country’s Olympic gold drought in boxing.
The eight-division world champion made the pronouncement at a gathering hosted by International Boxing Association president Ching-Kuo-Wu for Pacquiao who was the guest of honor in the AIBA World Championships being held in Doha, Qatar.
Pacquiao was so impressed by fellow Filipino boxer Rogen Ladon’s masterful unanimous decision over Mexican Joselito Velasquez Altamirano, the top-seeded fighter in the light flyweight division.
Ranked 17th in the tournament, Ladon bagged the three-rounder via unanimous decision on all three cards of the judges from Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago and France, 30-27.
Pacquiao, who earlier this week announced his bid for a senatorial seat, arrived to a rousing welcome at the ultra-modern Hamad Al Attiwa Arena which largely inspired Ladon in his bout against Altamirano.
“I couldn’t believe Congressman Pacquiao was watching me fight. I told myself I’m so lucky and I can’t let him down. I was really inspired,” said the 21-year old Ladon in the vernacular, who hails from Bago City in the southern part of the Philippines.
Ladon started early with sporadic attacks behind 3-5 shot combinations which is becoming his trademark.
“I knew he was fast, but the coaches told me to hit and run because he’s a bit flat-footed and wouldn’t be able to catch me if I disengage quickly. We studied the videos sent to us by our Sports Science support staff in Manila,” Ladon added.
Ladon’s second round performance was enough for Pacquiao, who is also a congressman in Sarangani Province, to pledge a cash incentive of P500,000 should he and another Filipino bet, Eumir Felix Marcial, bag a gold in the tournament which also serves as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I want to help these fighters. They’re both very good,” exclaimed the 36-year-old Pacquiao.
It didn’t end there, Pacquiao added: “another P5 million for each gold in Rio!”
Ladon will continue his journey to Rio in the round-of-16 against Poland’s David Jagodzinski who won over his Bulgarian opponent Thursday. Now with 2 wins, Ladon is already assured of a bronze medal but will need one more victory as only the gold and silver medal winners will be given tickets to the Olympic games.