GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Make boxing history. Free Manny from contractual obligations and allow him to fight Mayweather – a message from an Atenean to an Ivy Leaguer.
This was the appeal lawyer Franklin Gacal Jr issued to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in his first public interview since suffering a stroke in November of last year that left the right side of his body paralyzed.
Gacal, long-time lawyer of Manny Pacquiao, agreed to be interviewed at his sister’s home here, where he is undergoing therapy and rehabilitation.
Outside of Buboy Fernandez, Gacal is probably the closest there is to Pacquiao in his inner circle. Gacal has reviewed all of Pacquiao’s fight contracts since the two teamed up some 10 years ago.
He once told this writer he was the designated absorber of all the legal flaks that the congressman from Sarangani has figured into, including the aborted signing of the Filipino boxing champion with Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Even Pacquiao’s uncle-in-law took him to task for the botched fight deal of Pacquiao with Golden Boy Promotion. He was later vindicated when that deal was shelved in favor of Top Rank, with whom Pacquiao had a live contract when the fighting congressman signed the De la Hoya deal for US$200,000.
Pacquiao went on to become Top Rank’s biggest star for almost a decade now, earning more than $200 million in combined purse money and PPV buy shares.
Gacal also took the bullet for Pacquiao when the latter figured in a failed switching of TV channels – from GMA to ABS-CBN – a few years back.
He once sat in front of the media on behalf of his client when the press came asking questions over the controversial death of a radio reporter just outside Pacquiao’s former home in Labangal, General Santos City, after a night out drinking with him and his bodyguards.
A graduate of the Ateneo law school, Gacal also served as chief of staff for Manny Pacquiao the congressman.
He was city councilor of General Santos City many times over before his job as legal advisor of Pacquiao took him away from local politics. In May 2013, upon the prodding of Pacquiao, he ran and won again as city councilor.
His appeal to Arum, a Harvard University Law School graduate, comes from one lawyer to another.
He likewise spoke on Pacquiao’s latest row with the taxmen – both in the US and in the Philippines – and what the future holds for the Filipino 8-division boxing champion. The interview also includes the provocative Mike Koncz.
Below is the full text of Rapper’s interview with Gacal:
Rappler: It looks like Floyd (Mayweather) is set that unless Manny (Pacquiao) gets out of Top Rank, the fight will not happen.
Franklin Gacal Jr: Kung 'yun ang kondisyon niya and kung gusto ni Manny – at mukhang gusto ni Manny na labanan si Floyd – ang tanging paraan (If that is his condition and if Manny agrees – and it looks like Manny will agree to fight Floyd, the only way) is no renewal of any contract with Bob Arum (Top Rank). Manny should be a freelancer so ma-set ang away (for the fight to be set). History is waiting and Bob should free Manny. That would be Bob’s greatest contribution to boxing history.
Rappler: Or Bob could step aside?
Gacal: For this fight, huwag siyang makialam. That is the only way na matuloy ang laban. Everybody wants the fight. The world wants the fight. Kaya dapat pagbigyan ni Bob kung ‘yun ang tanging paraan. ‘Yun ang puede kong i-advice kay Manny sa ngayon. (For this fight, Arum should not be involved. That is the only way for the fight to happen. Everybody wants the fight. Bob should give way if that is the only way. That is the advice I can give to Manny for now)
Rappler: What should Manny do to make the Mayweather fight come true? Can he tell Arum to step aside for this Mayweather fight?
Gacal: Puwede. Siguro papayag si Floyd na Manny can hire Bob on a contractual basis na may konting fixed fee. Baka ayaw talaga ni Floyd na full time promotion. (Right. Maybe Floyd will agree that Manny can hire Bob on a contractual basis for a fixed fee. Floyd may really not want a full time co-promotion with Bob)
Rappler: You are lawyers. Obviously you and Bob know how to do it.
Gacal: Una yung contract (previous to the current) is about to expire. The current contract (between Top Rank and Pacquiao) was never shown to me. It was…pinalusot ni Mike Koncz. Hindi pinakita sa akin. Hindi ako na-inform (about the signing). Kaya nga nagalit ako kay Mike (Mike hid it from me. He did not show the contract to me. He did not inform me). Sabi ko (I told) Mike, you know that it is for the best interest of Manny that no contract should be signed for the moment because apparently ‘yun ang gusto or kondisyon ni Floyd (that is what Floyd wants or his condition).
Rappler: So the contract runs until 2014?
Gacal: Hindi ko na maalala kung hanggang kailan (I can’t remember until when) because I was never shown the copy.
Rappler: Nag-usap na kayo ni Manny tungkol dito (Have Manny and you talked about it)?
Gacal: Wala pa (No, we haven’t yet)…with what happened to me.
Rappler: When was the last time Manny visited you?
Gacal: December 16. Bumalik siya nuong pasko. Unfortunately, wala ako.(He went back on Christmas day but I was not around)
Rappler: Nabasa mo ba 'yung problema ni Manny tungkol sa taxes? Ano ang mai-advice mo kay Manny? (Have you read about Manny’s tax issues? What advice can you give Manny?)
Gacal: Well, talagang may problema. Ang IRS is claiming na may tax deficiency. Kung meron mang mali na nangyari, kasalanan ni Mike (Koncz). I mean he was handling it (Pacquiao’s finances). Bakit ganuon ang nangyari? I don’t know why. May na-hire siyang mga accountant. Dapat at the end of the year, after his income tax return na na-submit at na-file tapos ang problema. Kung bakit nag-claim ang US na may kulang – may mali sa recording and everything. So kasalanan ng point man ng tax returns ni Manny and that is Mike Koncz.
(Well, it appears there is really a problem. The IRS is claiming there is a tax deficiency. If there were some mistakes, it was Mike’s fault. Why did it happen? They were supposed to have hired accountants. At the end of the year, after the filing of the tax returns, all problems should have been solved. If the US still has claims, there should be problems with recording and everything. So this is the point man’s fault and that is Mike)
Rappler: All along wala kang alam tungkol sa pera (All along you knew nothing about money matters)?
Gacal: All along hindi ako nakialam sa kita (I did not dip my hands on Manny’s income). In the first place, I am not a tax lawyer. In the second place, hindi ako puwede mag practice ng profession ko sa America. Kaya wala akong pakialam. (I cannot practice my profession in America. So I have no hand over the matter)
Rappler: Your role is to see to it that the (fight) contracts are…
Gacal: Oo, 'yun lang. That Manny understands the contract, kung ano ang laman ng contract. Na nai-implement ‘yung contract. Pero hopefully, maayos sana. Laging ganun naman. Usually ‘pag high profile ka, medyo mabusisi ang gobyerno. Maaring nagkamali ang gobyerno. (Yes, that was my only role. What the contract stipulates and that these are implemented. But I hope all things will be settled. Usually, the government is meticulous when you are high profile taxpayer. The government could also be wrong)
Rappler: Who handled the MP Promotion?
Gacal: Hindi ako ang nag-handle nun. Si Mike.(I did not handle it. It was Mike)
Rappler: Do you think Mike and Arum are in collusion?
Gacal: I don’t know. Siyempre si Mike ang pag-asa niya after Manny Pacquiao is Bob Arum. Pagkatapos ni Manny (in boxing), sino siya? So dapat, i-maintain niya yung good relationship nila ni Bob Arum. (Mike looks up to Bob Arum when Pacquiao is done with boxing. When Pacquiao is done, who is he? So he has to maintain his good relations with Bob Arum)
Rappler: Why won’t Manny drop Mike?
Gacal: Si Manny mabait na tao. ‘Pag nagpakita ka ng loyalty, na magtrabaho ka sa kanya – pagbibigyan ka niya. Nakawan mo siya ng sampung beses, at humingi ka ng patawad ng isang beses, patatawarin ka niya ng labing isang beses. (Manny is a good man. If you show him loyalty and you really work for him, you will be rewarded. Steal from him 10 times and asked for forgiveness once, he will forgive you 11 times)
Rappler: What future does Manny hold both in boxing and politics? What advice can you give him?
Gacal: Well, I don’t expect Manny to fight after 2016. He has plans for 2016. That would be around four fights the most. Make the most of it. That means a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. If they can make it a trilogy, much better. Go for the big fight, Manny. Go for history.
Rappler: Even if that will mean significantly lesser money for their first fight?
Gacal: Well, not really significantly lesser. Puede siyang (Pacquiao) mag-give up a few points kung kailangan (Pacquaio can concede some points if needed). Anyway I expect a rematch if it will happen. If he wins the (first) fight, the next fight he is on top. Then after that, a third fight. Then he can retire and be a legend.
Rappler: Do you think he has to fight Marquez another time?
Gacal: No need. I mean, when he lost to Marquez, he was winning (the fight). It was a lucky punch whether Marquez admits it or not. I never agreed to that (fourth) fight. I told Manny, “Why fight Marquez?” Well, it happened. It’s history (now).
Rappler: Do you think it will be Bradley next for Manny?
Gacal: I think so. Ruslan Provodnikov is dangerous, very dangerous. I have seen their sparring (with Manny). I don’t like Provodnikov for Manny. They say he is the Siberian Rocky.
Rappler: May plano si Manny sa politika (Manny has political plans). Do you think it is still wise for him to proceed?
Gacal: Yes. Manny has the heart. Public service needs a good heart. And he has it.
Rappler: Given the chance that mag-usap kayo ni Manny (you and Manny will talk) with your condition, what will he say to him?
Gacal: Don’t fight after 2016. Retire and be a good public servant. –Rappler.com