Philippine boxer and poll candidate Pacquiao says TV bout cover not a low blow

Mon Mar 7, 2016 2:55am EST
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MANILA (Reuters) - Former world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said on Monday TV coverage of his WBO welterweight bout with American Timothy Bradley would not violate Philippine election laws or give him an undue advantage in his bid for a seat on the Senate.

In a five-page letter to the election commission, Pacquiao, 37, said that as a candidate for the May elections, he was allowed TV and radio air time for political advertisements and that his fight will not consume all of the allotted time.

The commission on Tuesday said it may bar broadcasts of Pacquiao's bid to win back the world welterweight title next month from reigning WBO welterweight champion Bradley because it could give him an unfair advantage in the elections.

"There is obviously no case of undue advantage or undue exposure for Pacquiao as the same rights and privileges are extended by law to all said candidates," Pacquiao said through his lawyers.

The bout will take a maximum of 36 minutes for a 12-round fight, or less if the fight does not go the distance. Under the law, all candidates are given up to 120-minute TV and 180-minute radio advertisements per station.

Pacquiao's description of gays as "worse than animals" last month drew criticism on social media at home and abroad, and cost him an endorsement deal with Nike, the world's largest sportswear maker.

The election commission is expected to make a ruling on the broadcasts soon.

On May 9, more than 54 million people in the Philippines will vote for a president, vice-president, 300 lawmakers and thousands of local government posts.

Pacquiao, who has also courted controversy with comments on same-sex marriage, is running for one of 12 vacant seats in the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, who is running for Senator in the May 2016 national elections, speaks to supporters during the start of elections campaigning in Mandaluyong city, Metro Manila February 9, 2016.     REUTERS/Janis Alano