By Michael Marley
Michael Koncz, the agent for WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, thinks those who accuse him of all kinds of machinations, skullduggery and both front and backstabbing need to dummy up.
According to the Canadian native, the 32-year-old Congressman from Sarangani Province makes his own decisions in both politics and in his first chosen profession, boxing.
I phoned Koncz, who was in Los Angeles with Pacquiao on Friday and getting ready to fly to Las Vegas for a Saturday presser at the MGM Grand for the May 7th Shane Mosley bout, and asked him about persistent reports that:
A) he had something to do with conditioning coach Alex Ariza's getting canned by the also Freddie Roach-trained world champ Amir Khan;
B) that he is pushing Pacquiao to similarly axe the outspoken Ariza, who once punched Koncz in the face at a Bagiuo training camp;
C) that he acts, as some allege, as "the Black Pope" who pulls Pacquiao's strings as though the fighter is some pugilistic puppet.
Koncz's answers are, in this order, no, no, no and smarten up.
"That is absolutely absurd," Koncz said. "I find it absolutely amazing that people come up with these unfounded charges and allegations. It's not that I'm concerned about me or my own reputation because I am not. But Manny is very intelligent. Manny is the boss. What offends me is that these type of stories just insult Manny's intelligence."
"I find it amazing that some people think I have so much power. As far as Alex goes, I've got no problem with him or his work. As far as I know Alex is on Manny's team and that's a situation that would involve Manny and Freddie and not me. I don't get into any discussions about what Alex does."
As far as meddling into Ariza's well-documented rift with the Khan camp (he called the boxer's father Shah "a cab driver" ill-suited to high level boxing decisions), Koncz said that is beyond ridiuclous.
"I never had anything to do with Amir Khan," Koncz said.
Koncz said the Pacquiao group is tentatively slated to return to Manila on Feb. 18 although Manny's competing with teammates Justin Bieber (his hairalike) and Jimmy Kimmel in an NBA All Star Celebrity game could delay that departure. The fun game is scheduled for that date.
Pacman will launch training for the Mosley match in Manila, spending about 10 days there, and then move his camp to Baguio on March 13 with an exit to Los Angeles and Roach's Wild Card Gym set for April 9.