Nike contract termination shouldn't affect Pacquiao's legacy — sports analyst

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Manny Pacquiao will face off against Timothy Bradley for the third time on April 9 (April 10 PHT).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao was dropped by global brand Nike Inc. after receiving flak from netizens and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community for his comments on same-sex unions.

"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," a Nike's statement said on Wednesday (Thursday, February 18 PHT). "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."

Related: Nike drops Manny Pacquiao after anti-gay comments

The decision came a day after a petition on change.org was launched urging Nike to have Pacquiao stop endorsing its products.

The petition has garnered more than 3,000 signatures so far.

Boxing analyst Quinito Henson, in an interview on CNN Philippines' Newsroom, said Nike has every right to remove Pacquiao as its endorser.

He also said this is unlike the other controversies Nike endorsers has faced, because the boxer's comment was directed towards a segment of Nike's market.

Related: Pacquiao 'not condemning anyone' with same-sex union comment

But another sports analyst Sev Sarmenta told CNN Philippines Digital on Thursday this will have little effect on Pacquiao's legacy.

"Pacquiao will take the withdrawal with open eyes and will look for other apparel sponsors," said Sarmenta. "Pacquiao loses some luster being dropped by Nike, but (it) shouldn't affect his legacy."

manny-pacquiao.jpg Infographic by Yla Corotan  

Pacquiao also has deals with several global brands: Foot Locker, Nestle, Wonderful Pistachios and Technomarine.

He is also associated with local brands, such as Motolite, Cafe Puro, Ricoa, LBC, and Air Asia, and has endorsed products for Alaxan, PLDT, San Miguel Corp., and Pizza Hut, among others.

The eight-division champion has a scheduled fight against Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10 PHT), and Sarmenta believes the issue won't affect Pacquiao's training heading into the match.

"Manny is a special athlete and he will know what to (do) against Bradley."

Will Pacquiao lose supporters and spectators for his upcoming fight? Sarmenta said the fighter's true fans will remain in his corner in spite of the issue.

"The loyal fans of Pacquiao the boxer will still be there," he said. "The issue on same sex marriage and Pacquiao will not end right away, and may lead to better understanding for all."

Pacquiao is running for senator in the May elections under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Related: Binay defends Pacquiao as LGBT celebs campaign against his Senate bid