Boxer Manny "Pacman" Pacquaio does not want to fight in the United States anymore after President Barack Obama and Congress decided to raise the top income tax rate to 39.6% in a deal to temporarily avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
Pacquaio's thoughts come less than a month after golfer Phil Mickelson indicated the increase in federal and California state income taxes would force him to potentially leave California or make other "drastic changes."
Pacquiao's chief adviser, Michael Koncz, said this week that the Filipino boxer wants his next fight to be in Macau, where there is no income tax. Koncz traveled with Pacquiao, who is also a congressman in his native country, to the Philippines. The two discussed Pacquiao's options during a vacation to Israel.
Pacquiao's next fight would be against Juan Manuel Marquez, whom he has faced four previous times and who knocked Pacquiao out cold with a vicious right hook in their last bout on December 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Congress raised the the top tax rate on individuals and families making $400,000 and $450,000, respectively, nearly a month after that fight. And because of the tax increase, a rematch against Marquez this summer in the United States is a "no go," according to Pacquaio's camp.
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum wants Pacquiao and Marquez to fight in Las Vegas, but indicated Pacquiao does not want to take the financial hit.
"Manny can go back to Las Vegas and make $25 million, but how much of it will he end up with – $15 million?" Arum told Yahoo! Sports. "If he goes to Macau, perhaps his purse will only be $20 million, but he will get to keep it all, so he will be better off."
The fifth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez will be a tremendous draw. And there will be story lines galore. After Marquez viciously knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round in their last fight, leaving Pacquiao's wife screaming in the front row because Pacquaio was momentarily unconscious, Pacquaio will have to decisively defeat Marquez in order to even have an opportunity to fight against Floyd Mayweather, which is the fight the boxing world has craved and demanded. Marquez was dogged by allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs before his last fight, as his sudden increase in muscle mass after he hired a trainer who had been tied to BALCO, the lab that had reportedly supplied Barry Bonds and many others with human growth hormone, raised suspicions.
Fights between the two have been competitive and brutal - even though Marquez knocked Pacquiao out, Marquez suffered a broken nose and a concussion during the fight - and that is why viewers will tune in if and when they meet again.
But because of America's high tax rate, that fight will most likely take place overseas. And Nevada's economy will also suffer as a result if the high-profile fight does not take place in Las Vegas.
Pacquaio endorsed Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D) in 2010, and he is credited with giving Reid the support of the state's Filipino voters to ensure his reelection. Pacquiao has gone against the beliefs of his liberal friends on quite a few instances. For example, when he made comments in support of traditional marriage last year, he was bullied, with the owner of a Los Angeles shopping mall saying he would ban Pacquiao from the mall's premises. Most recently, when an athlete like Mickelson has spoken out against high taxes, the media promptly bullied him into issuing a forced apology.
As Pacquiao's and Marquez's camps begin negotiations for the rematch, it will be interesting to see how much Pacquiao's friends on the left pressure him to rethink his decision and let America's federal government take more of his money.