I’d never heard of Manny Pacquiao, until last week when I read a Sports Illustrated article floating him for Sportsman of the year. Last night he became the first boxer in history to win a title in 7 weight classes which is an incredible accomplishment, but more amazing to me is in the era of me-first athletes and marketing buzz/spin how committed he is to his fellow Filipinos. (Not to mention he apparently has two platinum records – so crazy!) Check the articles below. Interesting.
From the NY Times:
“Pacquiao collected belts, from lightweight to now welterweight and every belt in between. He entered Henry A 1937 rmstrong territory, earning comparisons to the boxer who won three titles in 10 months in, when there were only eight divisions.
Along the way, Pacquiao became an international superstar, a singer with albums that twice went platinum, an actor with so much money he made his own movies.
As this fight, the toughest of his career, crept closer, celebrities picked Pacquiao to win. Everyone from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sylvester Stallone — Rocky himself — predicted victory.
Proof of Pacquiao’s own confidence came from the concert he scheduled at Mandalay Bay, a full eight songs to be sung less than two hours after the fight concluded.”
“A commonly used cliché in sports journalism is that (insert athlete name here) “fights with the weight of the world on his shoulders.” A little hyperbolic, certainly, but in Pacquiao’s case, it rings true.
His popularity stems from his athletic accomplishments; the Filipino army, in which Pacquiao is a reserve, routinely declares a temporary truce (P-Day, they call it) with insurgents on days Pacquiao fights. But Pacquiao’s impact extends even deeper into the culture.
Like most professional athletes, Pacquiao spends money as he makes it. But his paychecks don’t go towards a fleet of cars or flashy bling. His money goes back into his country. For Filipinos, Pacquiao is a one-man stimulus package. When he’s not fighting, Pacquiao can routinely be found in General Santos City, handing out bags of food and wads of cash to anyone who needs it.
When a series of typhoons ravaged the islands recently, Pacquiao was on the front lines handing out supplies. His home isn’t his hideaway. If someone shows up looking for a handout, chances are they walk away with one.
Both Pacquiao’s trainer and promoter have publicly suggested that Pacquiao’s generosity will eventually lead to him going broke. Pacquiao doesn’t disagree. He has no intention of stopping.
“I believe our mission in this world is not only to make money, but we have a big responsibility,” Pacquiao once said.
“If you get the blessing from God, we are to give some to our people, and especially the poor people.”