Philippine Showbiz Today Vol 12 no 3 - Page 22

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Philippine Showbiz Today

Manny hasn ’ t agreed to fight yet

February 8 - 21 , 2017

SPORTS

Manny Pacquiao ’ s next fight is still up in the air .
“ We haven ’ t agreed to anything yet ,” Pacquiao ’ s ring adviser , Mike Koncz said yesterday amid reports that Brisbane had inched closer to hosting Pacquiao ’ s fight with Australian Jeff Horn on April 23 .
The STAR asked Koncz if a deal with Brisbane and Horn has been sealed or at least close to being sealed . “ No ,” was Koncz ’ s reply . Brisbane finally getting the nod of the Queensland government to host Pacquiao ’ s first fight for 2017 is all over the news Down Under .
But Koncz , over the phone , doused cold water on the news .
“ Who are they going to fight ?” said Koncz , stressing that nothing has been written in black and white despite promoter Bob Arum ’ s great efforts to bring Pacquiao to Australia .
“ We haven ’ t agreed to fight them ( Horn ),” added Koncz .
Just a couple of days ago , Pacquiao posted on social media a message directed to his fans as he tried to get their thoughts on
whom he should fight next .
It only shows that Pacquiao has not committed himself to facing Horn or anyone else in April .
“ We haven ’ t agreed to anything . And that includes the opponent and venue or the purse . We ’ re not going to discuss those things with the media ,” Koncz said .
The Canadian adviser to Pacquiao said they ’ re leaving all windows , all options open , meaning Pacquiao can fight someone else , anywhere else . ●
- Abac Cordero , PS Pacman still looking for a fight soon
Chess

Wesley So : Pinoys ’ loss is the Americans ’ gain

The buzz in local sports media recently has been centered on Wesley So . He is a 23-year-old chess player who , if he stays on his current winning path , could become world No . 1 .
He was born in Cavite , but he now lives halfway around the world in Minnetonka , a city in Minnesota that gets really cold in the winter .
A decade ago , he was groomed as the future of Philippine chess .
When he competes nowadays , it ’ s as if his roots have been erased . Three letters are affixed beside his name when he joins tournaments : USA .
In an article about So posted on the Star Tribune on Monday , the writer never mentioned he is a Filipino . Or was . And this is where the debate begins .
So has been playing for the United States Chess Federation since 2014 , but he remains a Philippine passport holder .
“ Will I change citizenship ? That is years away from happening if ever ,” So told Manila Standard on January 22 .
So ’ s situation has divided the local chess community , according to Joey Villar , a chess insider for the Philippine Star .
“ Some support his decision , while some feel he betrayed his country ,” Villar said . “ Wesley says he is a Filipino representing the US , but American and foreign chess writers refer to him as an American . Which is which ?”
In an interview with ABS-CBN News in 2014 , So voiced his displeasure with local chess officials when he won a tournament he wasn ’ t supposed to join . They didn ’ t recognize his feat , So said , because they deemed it an act of disobedience .
“ No player should be treated this way , especially when I worked so hard to bring pride to my country ,” said So .
The chess brain drain has been going on for years , with top players immigrating to the US , Europe and elsewhere because the grass is greener there .
So hasn ’ t lost in 56 matches , a stretch that includes winning the Grand Chess Tour and the Taal Steel tournament , two competitions that helped him shoot up the International Chess Federation ( FIDE ) rankings .
In December , So was part of the US team that won the Chess Olympiad gold medal in September , the first by an American squad in 40 years . He also took the individual gold medal in a competition that gathered the best in the world .
Garry Kasparov , the Russian
Wesley So with former actress Lotis Key & husband Renato Kabigting in Minnesota , USA
chess great and former world No . 1 , took the time to give So a shoutout after So topped the Grand Chess Tour series in December .
That ’ s why losing So ’ s allegiance stings the most because he could become the world ’ s topranked player . Since 1971 when the FIDE started tracking the world No . 1 , only 7 players have reached that pinnacle .
If that happens , in the minds of some Filipinos , So would bring honor to the country . But in reality , it ’ s the United States that would receive the glory .
Villar believes So will be a world champion . When that day comes , the feeling will be bittersweet .
“ It gives me a lot of joy knowing a Filipino made it that far ,” Villar said , “ but , at the same time , it makes my heart bleed that he is carrying another country ’ s flag .” ● - Dominic Menor , ABS-CBN

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