Pacquiao is RP’s Cinderella Man
- Vincent’s Note: This article was published in the Manila Times on May 2, 2009, two days before Manny Pacquiao bankable fight against Ricky Hatton. After his last year’s victory, Pacquiao is out to fight with Joshua Clottey on Sunday (March 14, Manila time). The pound-for-pound king reportedly stopped scheduled brownout in his home province, General Santos City. Click here for the actual Manila Times article.
For just one day, Filipinos will definitely forget poverty and whatever crisis that is affecting the country.
Only a few days before his megabuck bout, pound-for-pound boxer Manny ‘PacMan’ Pacquiao showed his brand as a prized fighter, as he focused on grueling training and vowed to beat British boxing superstar Ricky Hatton in their clash billed as the Battle of the East and West on May 2 (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The pride of General Santos City may now be heading for his biggest fight in his boxing career at least in terms of money but he never forgets his humble beginnings. Before he became PacMan, the 30-year-old boxing hero wallowed in obscure poverty. He began to fight at the age of 12 to help his parents. Sometimes slept in the streets of the cities where he had a bout.
In his interview with CNN Talk Asia Host Anjali Rao on Wednesday, Pacquaio, who is seen as a national hero, showed that his Cinderella-like life story can be an inspiration to everybody, especially now that many Filipinos are unemployed and very poor.
“I’m so happy for what I have done in my life,” said Pacquiao from the famous Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. In that interview, Pacquiao spoke positively of his humble beginnings as something to be grateful for. He said his lowly situation in life when he was young forced him to box at an early age for $1 to $2 per fight and become one, if not the most, exciting boxing icons in the world today.
$12 million paycheck
A real fighter, Pacquiao said the feeling of sleeping in the street served as his inspiration to persevere and change the course of his life. Now, he is sure to get his lion share a whooping $12 million in his most awaited fight against Hatton.
Asked to comment on his mega paycheck, Pacquaio said, “I never thought of this before,” adding, It’s a gift from God.” When he was still starting, Pacquaio was like anybody else in General Santos City, where boys at a very young age were austerely trained to become prized fighters. Now, Pacquaio has become an inspiration for minor-aged boxers in his province, hoping to take boxing as a route out of poverty.
“Before when I started in boxing, I [was] so happy to fight only in [small] boxing arena and [even] in basketball [courts],” he said.
But things changed dramatically for Pacquiao after he
the defeated world’s great fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. His success made him the darling of politicians, including President Gloria Arroyo.
The much hyped Pacquiao-Hatton clash is said to bring the Filipino-British ring rivalry to a new level. Even PacMan is excited and “honored” to slug it out with Hatton, since “this is my first time to fight an Englishman, not a Mexican.” The first time the boxing world witnessed a Filipino-British tiff was in 1923 the early period of global financial crisis in the last century when Pancho Villa, born Francisco Guilledo, subdued British boxer Jimmy ‘Mighty Atom’ Wilde in the seventh round for the world flyweight title
But he spoke warmly of the British boxing superstar. “Fighting with an English fighter is an honor. [I think] Ricky Hatton is a nice person,” he said.
Asked about his interest in politics, the PacMan said he will “definitely” enter politics next year and run for congressman.
Bob Arum, the owner of Top Rank Promotions, was quoted as saying by Yahoo Sports that Pacquaio can take a shot at the presidency “within 10 years.”
However, Pacquaio brushed aside any plan to run for president in the near future, saying “my dream is to run for Congress.”
“I want to serve my countrymen, especially the people in General Santos City,” he told CNN.