Manny Pacquiao talks basketball, boxing and politics

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Man of the people: Manny Pacquiao.

The world’s only eight-division boxing champion and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao arrived in Dubai Monday night ahead of this weekend’s PBA Philippine Cup.

Pacquiao, whose illustrious record in boxing is 57 wins, six defeats and two draws from 65 fights, with 10 world titles, is player-coach of the Mahindra Enforcers, a professional outfit in the Philippine Basketball Association.

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And the 36-year-old, who was greeted by large numbers of fans and media at Dubai International airport, said: “This is my first time (in Dubai) and I feel so happy to be here. Thank you for the warm welcome, especially to the Filipino people in Dubai.”

Pacquiao is due to fight once more before retiring and concentrating on his political career, and he said Dubai is a possible venue for his farewell bout next April.

“I’d love to have a fight here in Dubai but I don’t know yet,” he said. “We are working on that.”

Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, who welcomed Pacquiao at the airport, told Sport360: “Dubai is looking for that (to host the fight) and if he wants it, we will sit and discuss it.”

When asked about the identity of his opponent, Pacquiao reeled off a four-man shortlist but insisted nothing has been decided as yet.

“I have no preference, it can be anybody – it depends on the negotiation,” he added. “There is Amir Khan, a rematch with (Floyd) Mayweather, (Danny) Garcia or (Terence) Crawford.”

Aside from boxing and basketball, Pacquiao is also an elected congressman and is hoping to win a seat in the Philippine Senate in next year’s national elections.

Although he is heavily criticised for his absenteeism in congress, he last night reiterated his promise to hang up his gloves if elected to the Senate.

“Only basketball if I win in the Senate,” he added.

Although Pacquiao has already filed for his candidacy, he said his visit in Dubai was purely for sport and not to campaign for the votes of Filipino expats in the UAE.

“I’m here for few a days to go around and see the beauty of Dubai and to meet the Filipinos and play basketball,” he said. “I was invited to play (basketball) and there’s no politics involved. Just sport.”

When asked of his chances to win a seat in the Senate, he said. “It’s hard to say but we’ll see – it’s up to the people.”

Paul Raymund Cortes, the Philippine Consul General to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said: “Pacquiao’s visit augurs well for the good relations between the UAE and the Philippines. He’s popular not just among Filipinos but internationally and it’s a boost for Filipinos in Dubai to see him in the flesh.”

Pacquiao’s Mahindra Enforcers team are in action at Al Wasl Club on Friday, November 6, while he is also set to visit the du shop at Dubai Mall on Wednesday and the new Go Sport store at the Mall of the Emirates on Thursday.

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Peyton Manning shows his class as Denver Broncos remain unbeaten

Jay Asser 2/11/2015
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The main man: Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning and the running game more than complemented the Denver Broncos’ dominant defensive effort as they proved their undefeated mark is for real.

Hosting the fellow unbeaten Green Bay Packers in a matchup of 6-0 teams, Denver shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers while their own future Hall of Famer had one of his better games of the season.

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Rodgers completed 14-of-22 passes for just 77 yards, the lowest of his career for a game he didn’t exit with an injury, while being sacked three times and pressured all night.

After entering the contest allowing the fewest yards per game in the NFL and ranking only behind Green Bay by a hair for fewest points, the Broncos’ defence cemented its status as the best in the league.

“If people don’t think we’re the No1 defence now, I don’t know what to say,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr said. “We showed what we’re about, what we can do. And we know we have a long way to go, a lot of games left to play. We think we can be even better.”

Against the Packers, however, Denver didn’t have to solely rely on their defence as Manning directed the offence to three touchdown drives and two field goals.

Manning bounced back from a rough three-game stretch in which he averaged 256.3 passing yards with a 2-to-7 touchdown-interception ratio, throwing for a season-high 340 yards on 11.72 yards per attempt.

“I’ve been very determined to get comfortable in this offense,” Manning said of coach Gary Kubiak’s scheme. “I knew this was not going to be an easy transition.

“I can’t say that a lot of what’s happened has been a surprise to me. It was kind of what I expected, there were going to be some rough times, rough patches and rough parts of the transition.”

The running game, meanwhile, responded with 160 yards and three touchdowns between backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.

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On the Radar: AFCCL final, Beach Soccer, Electric Run

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There is no end of sport to get involved in or watch over the next seven days in UAE and here are Sport360’s top picks. From international Test cricket to the world renowned Electric Run there is something for everyone in the Emirates this week.

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PAKISTAN VS ENGLAND – THIRD TEST
Sunday, 1st November – Thursday, 5th November

Heading into the match, Pakistan have a 1-0 lead after their second Test win in Dubai. England will be desperate to level the series with victory in Sharjah and go into the match having made two changes to their side.

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium

BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP
Tuesday, 3rd November – Saturday, 7th November

The Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup welcomes the best eight teams in the world to compete in what is a day of top-class entertainment for the whole family including music, food and games suitable for any age.

The competition’s fifth edition will offer another exciting contest and attract huge crowds with food and beverages to ensure that there will never be a dull moment.

Will anybody be able to knock champions Brazil of their perch?

Venue: Dubai International Marina Club

Website: Beach Soccer

ELECTRIC RUN
Friday, 6th November

The global phenomenon in mass participation sport and the world’s brightest 5k night run come to Dubai this Friday.

UAE residents will be treated to an extraordinary race experience that has quickly become the biggest night run in the world.

Electric Run has electrified London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Singapore, and has taken Sydney and New York by storm. Since 2013, over one million people have taken on the Electric Run challenge around the globe.

Venue: Nad Al Sheba, Dubai

Website: Electric Run

UAE PREMIERSHIP RUGBY
Friday, 6th November

After Abu Dhabi Saracens thrilling victory over neighbours Abu Dhabi Harlequins the UAE Premiership title race has been blown wide open. The pick of this weekend’s games are high-flying Dubai Exiles away to Dubai Hurricanes at the Sevens Stadium.

Website: Gulf Rugby

FINA SWIMMING WORLD CUP 
Friday, 6th November Saturday, 7th November

World class swimming returns to Dubai with an impressive line-up of World and Olympic Champions including Chad Le Clos and Katinka Hosszu taking part in the Swimming World Cup.

For the first time Dubai will host the final deciding leg of the eight leg competition, which will also see the overall male and female winners take home the US$100,000 prize money. 

Venue: Hamdan Sports Complex

Website: FINA World Swimming Championships 

NSL CRICKET
Saturday, 7th November

The latest edition of NSL Cricket is into its fourth round and there is still all to play for accross the UAE. 

Website: NSL360 Cricket

NSL FOOTBALL
Saturday, 7th November

The UAE’s most prestigious school’s football tournament is reaching fever pitch with schools from all corners of the Emirates battling to become the ultimate school champion.

Please see the website below for a full run down of all this week’s matches.

Website: NSL360 Football

AL AHLI VS GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE – AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Saturday, 7th November

Al Ahli are bidding to become just the second UAE winner of the AFC Champions League as they take on 2013 champions Guangzhou in the final.

The Dubai-based side sent shockwaves around the world when they defeated mighty Al Hilal to qualify for their first final on aggregate.

Venue: Rashed Stadium

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