TODAY, Filipino boxing icon Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao will carry on his shoulders the weight of the whole nation when he squares off with undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. in what is the biggest boxing bout so far in this century.
Whenever Pacquiao fights, the whole nation almost stands still. During the bout almost no crime is committed, if that is what zero crime reported to the police means. The streets are almost empty. Pacquiao’s accomplishments and persona as a boxer give the Filipino much respect and appreciation abroad.
Pacquiao has always exhibited the best in the Filipino character whenever he fights at the elite level: he works hard during training; he seeks the help of God; he draws inspiration from his family and his countrymen; and he is proud to carry the Filipino flag.
He is also very kind, an offshoot of the Filipino trait of “pakikisama.” He takes with him a large entourage of his bosom friends and relatives at his own expense whenever he fights.
When he enters the ring, Pacquiao exemplifies Filipino courage and at many times the “bahala na” (Leave it to God) attitude that has actually served him well in many of his fights.
Pacquiao’s rag-to-riches story and his determination to climb to the top has also inspired a people that has grappled with poverty for decades, but are in a worse state now mainly because of an ineffective and insensitive administration.
Pacquiao represents many of the Filipino’s good and positive traits. This is why, by and large, the Filipinos become a united people, a race in solidarity, every time he fights.
Some quarters can fault Pacquiao for not attending to his duties as an elected congressman. He has to answer to his own conscience and the God of good governance for that fault. But the fact is he spends all his salary and his pork barrel funds and adds his own million for the poor–specially his constituents. He surely must be lauded for being there to serve his constituents’ material needs.
We pray with all the Filipinos who still do pray that our Manny the PacMan beats Floyd Mayweather today.
But even if Pacquiao, God forbid, loses, his place in world boxing history will remain largely untarnished, because he has played a huge role in creating an era where boxing’s “small men” literally stole the limelight from the heavyweight division, long regarded as the sport’s glamour sector.
Pacquiao’s popularity also introduced boxing to more people, perhaps even more than Muhammad Ali did at the height of his career. The fact that today’s fight will generate at least $300 million in revenues is in itself a great thing, and the projected $3 million in pay-per-view subscription will be a record hard to beat in the future.
Boxing fans will thus be forever grateful to Pacquiao.
The Filipino boxing icon’s winning world titles in eight world divisions is an unparalleled accomplishment of Manny Pacquiao. His overall influence on boxing stands out.
Once Pacquiao retires from this sport (which is expected within this year or next year), the Filipino nation, especially its leaders, should continue to emulate the qualities that made him one of the greatest boxers in this era, especially his being hardworking, having a heart for the poor, being God fearing, and very proud to be a Filipino.
More importantly, Pacquiao’s being our world champion unites us all–this is something our present president should learn from.