Sports | September 19, 2021 5:25 pm

What’s Manny Pacquiao’s Next Challenge? Running for High Office.

The election is set for 2022

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao prepares for a WBA welterweight title fight against Yordenis Ugas at T-Mobile Arena on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Former presidents providing boxing commentary aside, the worlds of boxing and politics are largely separate ones. But “largely” doesn’t mean “entirely,” and for a handful of prominent figures, a prominent career in one might well lead to run for high office in the other. One of those figures is Manny Pacquiao, whose next challenge is taking place far from the world of competitive boxing. According to recent reports, Pacquiao’s next goal has nothing to do with title bouts and everything to do with becoming a head of state.

Deadline’s Bruce Haring reports that Pacquiao plans to run for president of the Philippines in 2022. Next year, the country’s current president, Rodrigo Duterte, will reach the end of his term.

Pacquaio’s political ambitions are far from secret. He was elected to a seat in his country’s Senate in 2016, at the age of 37 — and, even then, there were reports that he planned to seek the highest office in the land. As NPR reported at the time, the Philippines doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 40 to run for president; Pacquiao is now 42.

While Pacquaio has historically been a supporter of the incumbent president, tensions between the two have increased over the course of this year. In July, Reuters reported that Pacquaio had criticized the current government over issues of corruption, while Duterte made damning comments about Pacquaio. “When you are a champion in boxing, it does not mean to say that you are a champion in politics,” Duterte said.

Will the upcoming election prove Duerte right? We’ll know in less than a year.