I’m sure all Filipinos around the world know the name Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. He is currently the undisputed, “pound-per-pound” champion of the world and was tagged as “The Destroyer!”
He rose from extreme poverty to being the wealthiest boxer in the world today. What’s more amazing is he does not brag about his wealth and achievements. Despite his status right now, he remains humble, God-fearing, and respectful to his opponents and fans. Let’s look at another “rags to riches” story as we peek at Manny’s success story.
Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao was born on December 17, 1978 in Kibawe, Bukidnon in MIndanao here in the Philippines. Born of a typical poverty-stricken Filipino family, Manny Pacquiao left elementary school when his father left his mother to be with another woman. As an out of school boy, he helped his mom by selling breads and home made doughnuts peddling the streets of General Santos City.
As a young boy, Manny had his interests in boxing already. When not wandering the streets to sell his merchandise, he would be seen visiting other nearby villages and towns to compete for boxing matches most especially during town fiestas for a reward of just P150 (~US$3) for winners and P100 (~US$2) for the loser. The money that he gets would be a great help for his mom to support their living expenses.
Pacquiao started his professional boxing career at the age of 16 at 106 lbs. With his agility and power in boxing, he won a lot of boxing fights. One day, he got invited by one of the boxing personalities to go to Manila to hone his skills in boxing. He did not hesitate and asked the perimission of his Mother Dionisia who later on refused to give him her consent telling Manny that boxing is a brutal sport that can pose a lot of danger to his life. With his eagerness in boxing, Manny still went on and sailed to Manila to continue his training.
In Manila, Manny trained himself with dedication. In his early boxing fights, he kept on winning but unfortunately, just like what other unknown boxers at that time, he earns a little money from his wins which was not enough for him to send money to his mom. To increase his income, he later on employed himself in the gym where he trained as a employee doing gardening and cleaning and occasionally doing construction works while pursuing his career in boxing.
Manny had such an amazing dedication in his boxing training that he trained like there was no tomorrow. Each day he would wake up the earliest and leave when all others left already. With his commitment, he raked eleven straight wins before he had his first professional loss toRustico Torrecampo on February 9, 1996. Torrecampo was the only Filipino so far who had defeated Manny.
Manny continued with his fights knocking out opponents in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. It did not take long before he got his World Champion title on December 24, 1998 at a very early age of 19 when he defeated Chatchai Sasakul, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) World Flyweight Champion at that time.
Pacquiao went on with his fights training harder and increasing his weight to join heavier boxing division. He had his first boxing fight held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas Nevada during his fight with the then International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Bantamweight ChampionLehlohonolo Ledwaba in June 2001. Apparently, he just receive a small money on his prize but he already made a noise in his American fans.
Manny went on to defend his new title then with the trainig of his coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym improving his hand speed and mental preparation. He was then recognized as a World Champion when he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera with a TKO in the 11th Round. Since then, his fights would empty the streets of Manila and all other cities sending people over to their homes to watch his fights making a zero criminal-related incidence in the country during the duration of his fight.
Only six months after he had his fight with Barrera, on May 8, 2004, he challenged another boxing fighter Juan Miguel Marquez who at that time held the titles of both World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) Featherweight Champion. The fight ended up with a draw that left fans of both sides feeling bitter. However, Manny managed to collect his first million dollar in this fight.
Pacquiao once again moved up in a higher division and pursued a fight with another Mexican fighter by the name of Eric Morales on March 19, 2005 who handed him his first defeat in the boxing world stage - Las Vegas Nevada. However, Manny retaliated by knocking out Morales in their second fight on January 21, 2006.
On July 2006, Manny had a fight with Oscar Larios, the two time Super Bantamweight Champion held here at Philippines in Araneta Coliseum. The fight ended up with a TKO by Manny knocking down Larios on the 12th round. A series of fight by Manny went after Larios that includes Jorge Solis, a second fight with Barrera, a rematch with Marquez, a fight with Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya, and last with Ricky Hatton which Pacquiao managed to win them all making him super famous in the boxing world and raking millions of dollars.
Ranking in one of the top richest Filipinos, Manny Pacquiao remains humble. Aside from being a great boxer considered by Time Magazine as one of the greatest athletes in 2009 making him as one of the most influential people for this year 2009, he was also included by Forbes Magazine in its annual Celebrity 100 list for this year 2009. Forbes listed Manny as the 6th highest paid athlete wtih a total of $40 million from second half of 2008 to first half of 2009. He was also the first Filipino athlete to have been honored to appear on a postage stamp.
When asked with his formula for success, Manny often says dedication, perseverance, courage, extreme self-discipline and prayer are his secrets. He once claimed:
”Anyone will succeed in whatever field of endeavor in life by acquiring the same virtues and character that boxing world champions do.”
Truly, Manny Pacquiao is one of the best athlete in the world not only in his profession but also to his friends as well. He never flashed his money, never wore gold and diamonds to brag to his friends, nor he treated people like they are inferior to him. He kept his same old friends and welcomed them to his mansion and always gives credits to the people who are the dearest to him.
Manny is a pioneer for young individuals who seeks success in life, respect for others, and a symbol of modesty and professionalism! Let’s all support him as one nation in his fight against the Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto this coming November 14. I am very sure that once again, he will bring home the bacon!
Long live Manny and thanks for making all the Filipinos proud all over the world!
We all hope that you get another WBO Welterweight Championship belt this Saturday, March 13, 2010 as we watch Pacquiao vs. Clottey Live Stream.
Source: Socyberty and Wikipedia