By Michael Marley
Brazilian ring hero Acelino "Popo" Freitas is plotting a comeback.
No, the former world champion is not returning to the ring but he is devising an electoral plan after getting 60,388 in a bid for one of Brazil's 81 Senatorial seats from the state of Bahia.
Despite garnering so many votes, the boxer was not elected in the October elections.
I guess Freitas knows how Congressman Pacquiao felt when he was outpointed by Dazzling Darlene Antonino-Custodio in his Gensan political foray.
Pacman licked his wounds, brought in new advisers and generally tightened up his vote-getting operation with the result being a resounding, upset victory in Sarangani.
Freitas quit the ring after an April 28, 2007, ninth round stoppage by Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz in Connecticut. His pro record was 38-2 with 32 KOs, the only other loss at the devastating hands of Diego "Chico" Corrales.
Freitas remains active in boxing promoting bouts in his homeland in association with his longtime promoter, Artie "Big Cigars" Pelullo.
There 20 sports heroes who ran for office in this election and football legends Romario and Bebeto, both on the 1994 World Cup winning team, were both winners.
Romario got a massive 150,000 while fellow striker Bebeto got less than 30,000 votes but still was a winner.
The Brazlian Senate is composed of three representatives from each of the huge country's 26 states.
Here's a post-election report:
"Romario ran on a platform of promoting sports projects for poor communities and measures to support children with special needs.
FIFA's 1994 World Player of the Year, who claims by his own controversial count to have scored more than 1,000 goals in his previous career, sees no limits in his new field.
One of his campaign advisors, Marcio Saraiva, said that the former star for clubs like Barcelona, Valencia, Flamengo and Vasco da Gama could have garnered as many as 800,000 votes had he had a larger campaign treasury.
Romario could even aim for the presidency, Saraiva said.
'Why not?' Saraiva asked, in an interview with Brazilian website IG. '(Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) started out as a steelworker.'
Romario was the sixth-ranking vote-getter among legislative candidates in the state of Rio de Janeiro, enough to send him to the National Congress in January.
'I am going to take it step by step. My main goal is to serve the full four years (in Congress) as well as possible.'
Romario has been trying to change his image from the playboy footballer, having been conspicuous for his taste for nightlife and clubbing and infamously averse to training.
Romario says he has matured and is ready to take on the responsibilities of public service.
Voter Claudio Moraes, a physiotherapist, was sceptical of the new, more serious Romario, pointing out a past conviction for tax evasion.
'How can a guy who doesn't pay taxes be a legislator?' Moraes asked.
Romario's former attacking partner on the Brazilian national team, Bebeto, got fewer than 30,000 votes as a candidate for Rio's state legislature - but squeaked into office on the slate of the Democratic Workers' Party's.
Disgraced swimmer Rebeca Gusmao, whose competitive career ended with a lifetime doping ban, ran for the Brasilia state legislature on the Communist Party of Brazil ticket, but as a candidate she sank like a stone, winning a humiliating 437 votes."