Boxing News 2014: Boxer Vitali Klitschko Looms as Ukraine’s Next President; Should Manny Pacquiao Follow His Foosteps, Win or Lose in April 12 Rematch vs Bradley? (VIDEOS)
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 3, 2014 10:27 AM EST
WBC heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, right, lands a punch on challenger Dereck Chisora during their title bout in Munich on Saturday. Klitschko won the fight after 12 rounds by a 3-0 judges' decision.
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YouTube/Al Jazeera English
At the centre of this political and military storm is former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, the leading contender to become Ukraine's next president. On Saturday, he urged the country's Parliament to mobilise the army in response to the approval by Russia's upper house to use troops in Ukraine.
In a statement, Mr Klitschko said, "Parliament must ask the army's commander-in-chief to declare national mobilisaiton after the start of Russian aggression against Ukraine," as he asked the UN Security Council to convene and discuss the crisis.
On Sunday, Ukraine National Security Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy declared the entire country would be placed on full combat alert. On Saturday, the council put in placed added security at the country's airports, nuclear plants and other strategic facilities.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in response to the Russian move, warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a 90-minute call that Washington would place Russia in political and economic isolation.
Election in Ukraine is slated on May 25 after ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country. The former boxer, now 42, has been seen in barricades in Maidan, the independence square of Kiev.
The future president of Ukraine appears to have parallel life with eight-division title holder and Filipino Congressman Manny Pacquiao.
Both men became known for their boxing skills and parlayed it into a political career. Messrs Klitschko and Pacquiao are also considered not outstanding public speakers.
Olexly Solohubenko, BBC News expert on Ukraine, noted that "Klitschko has a good reputation in the country while being very rich, people think he has earned his money honestly. And not being seen as corrupt sets him apart. Will this be enough for the heavyweight? Forecasting Ukrainian politics is like gambling in boxing."
But while Mr Pacquiao, who reached secondary school but is taking crash courses in public administration, is still struggling with his English, his Ukrainian counterpart speaks four languages and was awarded a PhD in sports science.
In 2010, he established the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, a political party.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Filipino boxing champ who will have his rematch with American boxer Timothy Bradley on April 12. While he is highly favoured to win the match, there are speculations that Mr Pacquiao, at 37, would soon retire from the ring and concentrate on his political career.
However, he has denied having presidential ambitions.
A loss to Mr Bradley is seen by boxing pundits as handwriting on the wall for Mr Pacquiao to finally hang his boxing gloves.
The next Philippine national election is in 2016. Although he has lost an election in his native General Santos province to a petite female opponent, Mr Pacquiao since then has been winning his political battles, becoming the representative of the neighbouring Sarangani Province.
Should he run for a higher office, the country's tax collector, which has frozen the Filipino boxer's assets over alleged unpaid taxes, better watch out for the Pacman's deadly left hook which has left many of his opponents sleeping on the ring.
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