Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to a new edition of The Layup Drill! This month, we revisit the great year by Doug Baldwin, a return home for a new Seattle Mariner — and is this the last fight for Manny Pacquiao?
Despite coming up short, Seahawks’ Baldwin has a
The feeling is a little different this year. For some Seahawks fans, the beginning of February is a little weird without the team in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Seahawks fell to the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. And we had to watch the Super Bowl (those of us who were still following football) without the Hawks in the big game.
Despite falling short of a third straight Super Bowl appearance, Doug Baldwin had a career year with the Seahawks. He tied the league-lead for touchdowns with 14 (and added another in the playoff victory against Minnesota). He also set career highs for touchdowns and yards receiving. It was a big year for Baldwin, who is part Filipino.
Yet, he was left off the Pro Bowl roster — a measuring stick to award outstanding play by NFL players this season. Most Seahawks fans don’t pay attention to the Pro Bowl since if you are a Super Bowl team, you do not play in the game.
Baldwin’s great play started late in the season, which might account for the omission off of the Pro Bowl team. One should hope for more of the same from Baldwin, as he became the number one receiver for Russell Wilson in the second-half of the season.
Mariners sign Travis Ishikawa
The Seattle Mariners signed former Federal Way High School baseball star Travis Ishikawa to a minor league baseball deal. Ishikawa, 32, played for the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates last year, and the Mariners signed him this past December for a potential spot with the Mariners roster this season in the outfield or first base.
Ishikawa is an eight-year pro, who won two World Series rings with the Giants in 2010 and 2014. He is best known for hitting a three-run home run, in the 2014 season, to give the Giants their third National League pennant in five years, sending them to the World Series. Since then, Ishikawa has been trying to rekindle his success hitting the ball.
With the Mariners seemingly rebuilding each year, one would hope that Ishikawa can bring his World Series experience to the team as it enters another year with hopes of making the playoffs.
Pacquiao picks Bradley for final fight
Manny Pacquiao has picked to fight Timothy Bradley on April 9 in Las Vegas, which, he states, will be his final fight. It will be the third fight between the two, as the fighters split the first two encounters. You may recall that Bradley, in a surprising upset, defeated Pacquiao in June 2012. The loss was his first since 2006. Pacquiao actually lost his next fight later that year when he was violently knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in November. He did make a comeback, as we all know, and faced Bradley in April 2014. Pacquiao dominated the rematch leaving no doubt who won the fight, as he earned a unanimous decision.
Pacquiao is coming off an extended time away from the ring after a loss to Floyd Mayweather last May. It was revealed that Pacquiao suffered a torn right rotator cuff in his shoulder prior to the fight. He had surgery on the shoulder after the fight in May and passed on his traditional November fight to heal.
Many in the boxing world are not too excited about the third fight between Pacquiao and Bradley. While Bradley is a formidable opponent, many were not thrilled with their first two encounters, so the end of the trilogy is not a must-watch, aside from the storyline that it may be Pacquiao’s last fight.
The fight will be another big payday for Pacquiao. According to ESPN, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum wired Pacquiao $2 million to secure his services for the Vegas fight. In total, the Filipino fighter will make $20 million.
Pacquiao is a busy man these days, as he will also be running for a senate seat in the Philippines. The popular fighter has stated that he will leave the ring to be a full-time politician to help the people of the Philippines. It remains to be seen if this will be his final fight, as Arum is not promoting the fight as Pacquiao’s last.
In the sport of boxing, there are many comebacks after retirement announcements. Whether it is for money, fame, or the need to be back in a place that feels familiar, boxers seem to come out of retirement more than any other athlete in any other sport. This past September, Floyd Mayweather claimed that his fight against Andre Berto would be his last. Still, many are skeptical. While Pacquiao has told everyone that April 9th will be his last fight, many believe that it will not.
It’s clear that Pacquiao has lost some of his speed and strength. One can only concede that this is due to inevitability of getting old. Father Time is undefeated.
The shoulder injury suffered by Pacquiao was his first big injury of his career. We shall see if he can bounce back in April and whether it will truly be the last time we see him in the ring.
The beloved Filipino fighter may have alienated himself from fans with comments about homosexuality in a recent interview in the Philippines.
Pacquiao, a devoted Catholic, stated that those in gay relationships are “worse than animals.” Since this insensitive remark, Pacquiao has apologized. “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals.” He added, “I still stand on my belief that I’m against same-sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT.”
After years of wildness as a young fighter, Pacquiao found God and is a staunch Catholic with very conservative views. Obviously, his comments about same-sex relationships is a reflection of what he believes although his description was very insulting. It’s clear that he went too far with what he said. We will see if these comments and his beliefs hurt his popularity in his last fight and whether that will sway any bit of his previous unwavering dedicated Filipino fan base.
Notably, on Feb. 17, Nike terminated its contract with Pacquiao, stating that it found Pacquiao’s statement “abhorrent.” (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.