By Nick Giongco
Admitting that he has been receiving offers left and right to turn pro, Eumir Felix Marcial on Saturday insists that he remains committed to the Tokyo Olympics.
“Wala naman ako pinipirmahang kontrata. Focused pa rin sa Olympics,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin amid reports that illustrious promotional outfits have expressed their desire to sign up the heavy-handed Filipino middleweight.
Marcial’s stock grew further last month when he topped the Asia-Oceania Qualifying Tournament in Amman, Jordan.
It didn’t require that Marcial win the tournament to earn a berth to Tokyo as he had already done so when he reached the quarterfinals.
But Marcial, the 2009 World Junior champion, wasn’t obviously content by just booking a berth.
Among those who have reportedly made their move are New Yorker Shelly Finkel, who used to manage Manny Pacquiao back in the mid-80s, a London-based group and another boxing manager also from New York.
Marcial, who hails from Zamboanga, said he has been consulting with about three individuals about the offers he’s been getting.
“Hindi naman ako basta-basta pipirma kasi pinag-aaralan ang mga bagay na ito ng mabuti,” said the 24-year-Marcial.
Last Thursday, the leadership of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) appealed to those vying for Marcial’s signature to allow the country’s premier Olympic gold medal hopeful to focus on next year’s Tokyo Games.
ABAP president Ricky Vargas, in a strongly-worded letter addressed to “certain individuals and entities” appealed to leave Marcial alone so the fighter and his father fulfill their dreams of winning the gold.
Finkel came to the country in July 2006 when Pacquiao defended the world super-featherweight crown against Mexican Oscar Larios at the Araneta Coliseum.
A week before the Larios clash, Pacquiao tagged along Finkel when he trained at the ABAP gym.
Finkel’s only other stint as Pacquiao’s manager was during the third Morales fight in Las Vegas in November 2006.
Apart from Pacquiao, Finkel’s other marquee names include Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor and the Klitschko brothers Vitaly and Vladimir.
In 2010, Finkel was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.