Manny Pacquiao’s cornerman, five-time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, has contended that the congressman’s love for the people of his native Sarangani Province in the Philippines will be what drags him into retirement and out of boxing.
In fact, Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia Pacquiao, attended the eight-division titleholder’s unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito for the WBC’s since-vacated junior middlweight belt in November believing that it was to be her son’s final fight, which, obviously, was not the case.
Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) has an HBO Pay Per View-televised defense of his WBO welterweight crown opposite WBO and WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 12.
But on an HBO blog, Pacquiao detailed his passion for the politics that promise eventually to completely replace his zeal for pugulism.
“Though boxing has always been my passion, I consider public service to be my calling. For both, I have a great responsibility to my people. I have been very fortunate in achieving a certain amount of fame through my achievements inside the ring,” said Pacquiao.
“As a boxer and a world champion, I have been allowed to raise the international awareness of my country, the Philippines. But more importantly, it has given me a large platform to bring attention to the needs of so many in my country, to give a voice to those who are not strong enough to speak for themselves.”
In February, during the tour promoting his unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in May, Pacquiao caused a car accident involving rubber-neckers outside of the White House prior to participating in a luncheon meeting involving President Barack Obama, his wife, Michele, and Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee.
In November, a few days before defeating Margarito, Pacquiao campaigned for Senator Harry Reid in Las Vegas.
The Filipino boxer, who is also a congressman back in the Philippines, is very popular among Las Vegas residents, including a sizable number of Filipino-American voters in the state of Nevada.
Pacquaio’s presence at the rally for Reid is believed to have tilted the balance in favor of the Senate Majority Floor Leader, who was uncertain about his political future less than a week before being re-elected to his current position.
“Manny Pacquiao and I came from different parts of the world, but we came on the same side of the street,” Reid said at the time of Pacquiao, who was being interviewed by 60 Minutes for a feature that aired on Nov. 8 — the Sunday prior to his bout with Margarito.
“Manny fights for those who cannot fight for themselves. It’s not enough to fight yourself. It’s not enough to want to be a champion. We want to be champions for others.”
Pacquiao certainly agrees, even though his life as a congressman is a sharp contrast to that of being a professional fighter.
“There is a big difference in being a professional fighter and being a congressman. As a boxer I have more individual control when it comes to achieving my goals. I train hard, I do my homework and I fight to the best of my abilities with only one obstacle in my way: my opponent,” said Pacquiao.
“As a Congressman, the pace is slower and more measured because of the nature of government. That is by design to provoke thought and debate so that hopefully the best solution to the problems of the nation and the provinces we represent are met in the best possible way. It takes patience and it takes cooperation.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com