Pacquiao promoted by army
The Philippine military promoted boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the army reserves yesterday, but the multimillionaire will likely not see any combat action. Pacquiao, who is also a congressman representing his southern province of Sarangani, donned his formal olive green uniform and insignia for a simple ceremony at the country’s army headquarters in Manila. Army chief Major-General Emmanuel Bautista said he hoped the 32-year-old, who has won world titles in a record eight weight classes, would be able to inspire others to enlist. Pacquiao was enlisted in the reserve forces with a rank of sergeant in 2006 and was promoted to sergeant major three years later as a reward for being the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, the army said.
Klitschko still eyes fight
World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko should be fit to defend his title against France’s Jean-Marc Mormeck after undergoing surgery to have a kidney stone removed this weekend, his manager said on Sunday. The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight belt holder is scheduled to face Mormeck, 39, in Dusseldorf on Saturday and a decision as to whether the fight can go ahead is expected soon. “The operation went well. If there are no unforeseen complications he’ll fight,” his manager Bernd Bonte said. “It’s a delicate situation, but thankfully most of the training has already been done. We’ll see how he reacts to the surgery. In the end it’s up to Wladimir to decide. The history of boxing is full of last minute cancellations, but I hope that Wladimir will fight.”
Marlins land Jose Reyes
The Miami Marlins reached an agreement to land prized free agent Jose Reyes on Sunday in a six-year deal reportedly worth US$106 million. According to Major League Baseball’s Web site, the deal for the 28-year-old from Dominican Republic is pending the shortstop passing a physical. A four-time All-Star, Reyes is coming off a career-best season that saw him win the National League batting title with a .337 average. He scored 101 runs and stole 39 bases for the New York Mets to cement his reputation as one of the game’s most exciting players. His arrival will mean that Miami are likely to move their current All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to a new position.
Ramirez’s suspension cut
Manny Ramirez’s MLB suspension for a second failed drug test was cut on Sunday from 100 games to 50 because he sat out nearly all of last season. Having already served a 50-game ban for violating baseball’s drug agreement in 2009, Ramirez faced a 100-game suspension last year for a second offense. However, rather than serve the penalty, the 12-time All-Star told the commissioner’s office he was quitting. MLB announced his retirement on April 8 and said merely he was notified “of an issue” under the drug program. “As a condition of his reinstatement, Ramirez will be required to resolve his outstanding violation,” the MLB commissioner’s office said in a statement. The suspension would start with the first game he is eligible to play after signing with a club.