Why Manny inspires many


CALL him a “punch drunk” or a mere “boksingero lang ‘yan” or any other ugly names.  But Senator Manny Pacquiao’s name will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of his millions of fans here and abroad.

Like many other boxers who fought their way out of poverty, Pacquiao’s life story will always serve as an inspiration for anyone among the poorest of the poor in our society that there is always a reason to dream and go all out to make it a reality. For sure, everybody knows that the Pacquiao family belonged to the indigent sector of our society during his younger days.

But with sheer guts and determination, he started fighting at a very young age to survive and prove that he was not merely daydreaming in pursuit of that much needed success in his life.

And he was right.  From being one of the poorest among the poor, he became one of the richest among the rich in our country.  He became one of the most sought after personalities in the world invited by world leaders in the likes of US President Barack Obama to the White House in February 2011 wherein, while crossing the street to the White House,  “a cluster of cars stopped to watch and snap photos of him causing a four-car accident with nobody getting hurt;” Prince Harry at the Buckingham Palace in January 2015; US President Bill Clinton who visited Pacquiao in Las Vegas and wished him good luck in his scheduled fight against Ricky Hatton in May 2009; and the University of Oxford of England, one of the top-ten universities of the world where he spoke before some of its students about his “university of life” referring to his rags-to-riches life story.

Some students were reported to be teary-eyed when Pacquiao recalled that “We were dirt poor. I had to work since the age of five, to help my mother feed my three siblings and me. Many days, I was lucky to have one full meal. On days when we had no food, I would drink lots of water just to fill my stomach. But my mind and spirit were never hungry.

And he inspired them with his message that “I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter not just because this is my profession. All my life I have fought to live…I have fought for survival,”

But this man remains humble all throughout his incomparable great achievements.  He could claim all these as his own personal glory and triumphs. But no, he humbly shared them with his country and his fellow men, a perfect example of his known humility and spirituality.

This is why Manny really inspires many of our people especially the poor who look up to him as an idol, a hero who could motivate them to dream of bigger dreams and believe that poverty is not a hindrance to  achieve one’s feat.

True to what he told the Oxford students that “being poor does not mean dying poor.  I believe I was destined to serve as an inspiration for the average Filipino to fight, to rise above adversity, and to embrace life and all its difficulties.”

Thus, whatever happens to his upcoming fight against Yordenis Ugas, Pacquiao will always be a legend in the eyes of the masses and to all his adoring fans.  To them, what is more compelling is his most fascinating life story of having been poor and yet was able to withstand all odds and adversities in order to achieve enormous success in life with a clean slate and an unblemished reputation.

Indeed, long after his retirement, the legacy of Manny Pacquiao will not just be about his superb boxing skills and “once-in-a-generation” talent. More than this, people will remember his story—of how one man who was born very poor, literally fought his way from survival to global dominance; and  that despite all his success and influence, how he remained grounded through it all.

Once again, come August 22, chants of “Manny! Manny! Manny!” will surely echo and reecho in our streets as our entire nation watches and prays for his victory in his fight against Ugas, while we also implore the God Almighty for the safety of both boxers.

  • Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal served as election lawyer of Manny Pacquiao in various elections and a boxing enthusiast.  In his younger days, he collected newspaper clippings of known boxers.  He has a scrap book of news clips of Muhammad Ali in the 60s which was autographed by Ali in September 1975 when Ali came to Manila for the Thrilla in Manila fight with Joe Frazier.  Macalintal, of Las Piñas City, has also a wide collection of newspapers front-page photos of Manny Pacquiao’s various fights with the latter’s autograph.

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