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Push to halt Pacquiao's farewell fight

Sport

World boxing star Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming bout with Timothy Bradley is under a cloud with a push to stop the match because it would give the Filipino slugger massive publicity as an election candidate.

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Waldon Bello, who is also standing in May 9’s senatorial poll, says in a petition to the country’s electoral commission allowing the welterweight fight to proceed during the campaign period would violate a law giving candidates equal access to publicity.

Bello, a left-wing politician who has not fared well in voter-preference polls ahead of the elections, said the fight, which Pacquiao declared would be his last, should be postponed until after the elections.

Pacquiao, 37, has not fought since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr last May in the richest fight ever.

Pacquiao reportedly made more than $US100 million ($A139.92 million) for the bout and is guaranteed $US20 million to fight Bradley.

The eight-division champion is the Philippines’ most famous athlete. He has represented Sarangani province in the Philippines’ House of Representatives since May 2010, though he has drawn criticism for seldom showing up for legislative duties.

Pacquiao will face Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 9, completing a trilogy between two of the world’s top welterweights.

Bradley won a hotly disputed split decision over Pacquiao in their first meeting in June 2012 but Pacquiao won by unanimous decision in the April 2014 rematch.

The Bible-quoting Pacquiao has been embroiled in controversy recently for saying that people in same-sex relations are “worse than animals”.

In response to the remark, apparel giant Nike said it would no longer have any business dealings with Pacquiao, who has since apologised.

Bello says he is not seeking Pacquiao’s disqualification as a senatorial candidate but wants the elections commission to take action on the complaint.

-AP

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