May 5, 2009

MANOS DE PEDRO:

Punching above his weight: Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao wows his fans with gloves and God. (Zen Udani | Tuesday, 5 May 2009, Mercator.net)

Boxing is a sport which often brutalises its practitioners. But Manny is different and that’s part of the reason why Filipinos love him. First of all, he is pious, even disconcertingly so. He has no qualms about wearing a rosary around his neck before and after a match or of making a sign of the cross at the start of a round. He entrusts himself and his professional work to God. He started Saturday off by attending Mass and at the end of the fight you could see a member of Team Pacquiao pointing down to the corner, reminding him to kneel down and give thanks before acknowledging the cheers of the ecstatic crowd. And when Arum praised him for his phenomenal performance. Manny responded, "Don’t forget God."

Afterwards Manny was quick to give credit where it was due. "Everything comes from God. I owe everything to God. He gives me strength. With God on your side, anything is possible. You can do things you thought you could only dream about." But the self-deprecating boxer also deserves some of the credit. His training regime is incredibly demanding.

Pacquiao also regards his 90 million countrymen and his fans as part of his team. He’s not into the air-pumping egoism of some sportmen. "Manny Pacquiao as a person is a very dedicated person," he said in a pre-bout interview. "My fight, I’ve always dedicated to the people, especially my countrymen, and to all the people who love boxing,"

He also seems to be a genuine family man devoted to his wife and four children. His wife Jinkee watched the fight in Las Vegas. His mother came also as well. "It’s great to have her here," says Manny. " It gives me more inspiration to do my best and try my best to win." But during the clash, she stayed in her hotel room praying rosaries.

Finally, he’s not into boxing to humiliate and destroy his opponent. He always spoke respectfully of Hatton. "I was never afraid of him. But I knew I had to be careful because he’s a great champion." As soon as Hatton staggered to his feet, Manny extended a helping hand. He even expressed gratitude. "I thanked Ricky for giving me the opportunity to fight him because he put his championship at stake. I told him it’s nothing personal, that I just had to do my job, like he has to do his. I’m only a boxer so this is my job."

Posted by at May 5, 2009 12:17 PM
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