It's been just a few days since Manny Pacquiao was on top of the world yet again after defeating Brandon Rios. Now it seems he'll be fighting an entirely different opponent in the real world — tax collectors.
Word broke Tuesday that all of Pacquiao's bank accounts have been frozen after the Bureau of Internal Revenue made claims the boxer hasn't proved he paid taxes from 2008-09. They claim the back taxes amount as high as $50 million.
Pacquiao said he paid taxes in the United States following his victories against Ricky Hatton and Oscar de la Hoya and that a treaty prevents double taxation. A criminal case was dropped by prosecutors for alleged unpaid taxes in 2010, but the revenue authorities' tax claims for the 2008-2009 are still pending.
"I appeal to them to remove the garnishment so that I can move and pay for my staff's salaries," Pacquiao told reporters in his southern hometown of General Santos city. "I am not a criminal or a thief."
He said his wife's accounts have also been frozen.
Pacquiao said if he had not paid the right taxes in the United States, he would have been arrested during one of his visits there.
"The money that was garnished by (the Bureau of Internal Revenue) is not stolen," he said. "This came from all of the punches, beatings, blood and sweat that I endured in the ring."
He said the revenue agency's claims that he earned more than what he actually did were baseless.
Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, however, said that the only proof Pacquiao has given of his tax payments was a letter from promoter Top Rank and HBO of the taxes he has paid to the United States, but nothing from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
"That is self-serving and a mere scrap of paper," she said. "What he can do is go to the IRS, ask IRS to certify this copy (of his tax payments) as a true copy. We have been waiting for that for two years."
She said of 22 banks her agency has ordered to report on Pacquiao's accounts, only two said they held deposits for Pacquiao and that the total was only 1.1 million pesos ($25,200), which is now covered by the garnish.
"It is unbelievable to me that he has only 1.1 million pesos," Henares said.
Pacquaio is currently borrowing money to aid 10,000 families in the Philippines for typhoon relief. There's one reason to root for the boxer to win his case.
Photo Credit: Getty