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Manny Pacquiao: Truly a “Pac” of all Trades (part 1)

Manny Pacquiao, boxing champion, the fighting congressman

All little more info about the Philippino known as The Fighting Congressman.

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao is from the Philippines and is the only eight-division world champion. Like his rival in the upcoming “Fight of the Century”, Pacquiao had won 10 world titles and was the first to be lineal champion in four different weight classes. The Boxing Writers Association of America named Pacquiao the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000’s. He was a three-time “Fighter of the Year” by The Ring.


• Manny Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in boxing history.
• Pacquiao hid on a boat headed 800 km for Manila at 15 years old.
• Pacquiao big exposure was with a technical knockout over Ledwaba in Las Vegas

Pacquiao has amassed quite a fortune for himself. Forbes voted him the 14th highest paid athlete in the world as of 2013. Well known in Philippine gambling news, Pacquiao was elected into the Philippine House of Representatives at 32. Pacquiao was the oldest player to get drafted on the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) at 36 and is the owner of the MP Hotel Warriors, a PBA Developmental League team.

The early time and tribulations of the one called Pac-man.

Manny Pacquiao was born on December 17, 1978 in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines. Growing up in a family of five, Pacquiao lived in the squalor-ridden village of Tango. Since Tango was 6 km for the beach, Young Pacquiao walked along the beach while helping fishermen with nets. The old men took note of 6 year old’s strength.

At 10, Young Pacquiao relocates with his mother and three siblings to the General Santos, the city where he first learns boxing and soon defeats everyone in the region. Upon finding out his father was living with another woman, his parents separated while in the sixth grade. Unknown to his mother, Pacquiao hides on a boat headed 800 km for Manila. The determined 15-year old makes a meager living and sends money home.

Life on the streets of Manila was hard for Pacquiao. Even though he didn’t eat much he still trained while selling food in the street. The time he would most often eat was at night while he waited for food from restaurant managers. Pacquiao was successful enough in boxing to make the Philippine National Amateur boxing team. As a member of the team, the government paid for Pacquiao’s room and board.

Starting at just 16 years old, he was 7 pounds under the minimal weight requirement for the lowest division. Pacquiao had to add weights to his pockets to reach the 105-pound weight limit. Although his fights in area venues were shown on local television, Pacquiao won his professional debut against Edmund Ignacio and became a celebrity. Those punters using online sportsbooks in the US would have enjoyed that bout.

The man known as Freddy Roach makes Pacquiao’s acquaintance

Pacquiao Roach sparring

After a seven-pound increase in weight, Pacquiao fought Rustico Torrecampo. Still under required weight, Pacquiao had to use heavier gloves and still managed a 3rd round knockout. Pacquiao would remain undefeated for 15 more fights managing to get lineal and WBC flyweight titles. After one title defense victory, Pacquiao lost the lineal title against Medgoen Singsurat. Later he won WBC International Super Bantamweight title.

During that time, a former boxer named Freddie Roach stepped into a local gym in the midday. Roach had heard about Pacquiao from the local promoter Rod Nazario that he was already a champion. “He was already a champion in flyweight but I’d never heard of him because the flyweight division is mostly Korea and Thailand”, Roach said. After witnessing a quiet Pacquiao, Roach asked Nazario if the guy would understand him.

Roach continued to talk of that day. “I’ve caught a couple of good guys. I’ve caught Tyson, I’ve caught Klitschko. I’ve caught heavy-handed guys, fast guys, Virgil Hill. Manny had speed, but the snap on the punch, it was like a firecracker going off. The speed and power together, that’s the first time I ever saw that. Everyone heard that [expletive] noise. It still amazes me, the snap of the velocity and quickness.”

Claiming to have never been impressed like that, Roach had a new client and Pacquiao a new trainer. Within weeks, the two were in Vegas when Roach got Pacquiao into a bout as a replacement. Pacquiao was able win that fight with a technical knockout over Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The two won their four next title defenses and made US gambling history together.

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