Manny Pacquiao: One of the World’s Most Famous and Richest Boxers and His Long Road To Boxing Glory


pacthumbManny Pacquiao fought Brandon Rios at the Grand Venetian in Macau on November 23. For Manny and many Filipinos, more than Pacquiao’s pride was at stake in this match. The Philippines, battered by natural disasters and corruption controversies, is desperately in need of heroes. For many years now Manny Pacquiao played that role perfectly. Born in the humblest of circumstances, his rags-to-riches story is a constant source of pride and inspiration to Filipinos. And what a story it has been.

He moved to Manila at a very young age and worked at odd jobs to survive. He was too scrawny to fight professionally and it took many months of painstaking training using makeshift equipment before he was finally noticed by the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines and included in the national boxing team pool.

The death of close friend Eugene Barutag from injuries sustained in a boxing match inspired Manny to turn professional. From his first professional win versus Enting Ignacio he was undefeated until Rustico Torrecampo gave him a wakeup call with a stunning knockout in his 12th professional fight. Since then, Pacquiao has racked up an enviable record of 54 wins against 5 losses and 2 draws and has become one the boxing’s biggest attractions.

His big break came when he stepped in as a late replacement to win against Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001 for the IBF Super Bantamweight title. The fight that made the world sit up and take notice, however, was his defining moment against Antonio Barrera in 2003 where he dealt Barrera the only knockout loss of his career and became the first Asian to win world titles in three different weight divisions.

His entry into the big time was in 2008 when he stepped into the ring to fight the legendary Oscar de la Hoya for a guaranteed purse of $15 million, a big jump from his previous high of $3 million in his last three fights prior. It is estimated that he also earned between $17-30 million as his share of pay-per-view buys. Gate receipts for the fight was $17 million, the second biggest in boxing history. His subsequent fights all had guaranteed purses in excess of $10 million, the highest being his fourth match with Marquez for $23 million.

That win against de la Hoya cemented his road to boxing superstardom and the singular distinction of being the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight different weight divisions. Sadly, this road hit major bumps when he lost his last two matches, both in 2012.

In June, he lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) reviewed tapes of that fight and the panel declared that Pacquiao should have won, but stopped short of declaring an overturn. However, in December and in the fourth installment of their longstanding rivalry, Juan Manuel Marquez silenced the crowd with deadly blow to Pacquiao’s jaw in the last second of the sixth round.

These two losses colored the backdrop painted by pundits and experts as the Pacquiao vs. Rios matchup approached. Both Marquez and Bradley turned down offers of a rematch with Pacquiao for different reasons, despite being offered record purses. They chose to fight each other, instead. Were they turning up their noses on Manny? Had the brilliance of Pacquiao’s star dimmed?

The pressure was definitely on Manny. Boxing promoter and Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum believed a loss to Brandon Rios would not signal the end of Pacquiao’s boxing career. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, said he would have advised Pacquiao to retire should Pacquiao lose a third consecutive time.

Pacquiao was more than equal to the pressure. As the nation’s hashtag in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan was #BangonPilipinas (#RisePhilippines), so was #BangonManny (#RiseManny) the theme of his fight against Rios. It was his chance for redemption after falling twice, and his emphatic win over Brandon Rios was one bright spark of hope in the midst of what has been the darkest moment in recent Philippine history. The message was clear. “If I can do it, so can you.”

What’s next for Pacquiao? Check out the infographic and tell us what you think!

pacquiao-infographic2

If you wish to help the Philippines which recently suffered from the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan, you can do so by visiting the Red Cross website or at ABS CBN. Any amount will go a long way.

 

Co-Created by Carlos Miguel Cinco

carlosCarlos is a fight sports analyst at Rappler and Editor in Chief at FightCardBoxing. He has been writing since 2008 and has had his work published on numerous websites. He’s a veteran of the Philippine fight scene, and has covered some international events as well. He’s known for his boxing pieces but he also enjoys watching Mixed Martial Arts and does believe that both sports can co-exist without making the other obsolete.

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4 Comments »

  • Wes says:

    Good reading. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  • This well crafted article, with complete facts about Manny Pacquiao’s journey in life, will go down in history as one of the best articles written about one of the best boxers in this world – Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao.

    Alex Hillberg should be given due credit for his foresight in coming up with an article which will forever be endeared by boxing aficionados and pundits, like Johnny M. Pecayo. Ruby Media Corporation is likewise credited for its professional support to a man considered “Hero” by his countrymen.

    I truly enjoyed reading this article, and shall treasure this forever.

  • retech son says:

    Nice, but the graphics don’t appear on my ipad, it’s good on pc.

  • Herb April says:

    PAC-MAN is a Great Fighter! Period! This article illustrates precisely why. Now he faces his greatest opponent ever; the Phillipine government, which wants to blatantly steal either a great part of, or ALL of his hard earned ring earnings. The politicians are, as usual, on the lowest rung of morals and human decency. This current cast of politicos, lawyers, and outright thieves want to do a broad daylight, no shame at all, strongarm heist of one of the more decent high profile athletes in the world. I don’t even think that the MARCO’S would have tried to do something like this (though I’m sure Imelda would want to confiscate all of his shoes…ha!).

    I hope that the Filipino people get out in the street to protest this outrage. Manny was a MAN OF THE PEOPLE, not a thief or scalawag like the current so-called “leaders” who want to take from Manny and line their own pockets with it.

    Manny, I’m praying for you man. I want you to get justice. I feel sad to even have to write this. You deserve MORE RESPECT IN YOUR HOMELAND! God bless you. My prayers and support will never stop.

    H. April / USA

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