Who was Manny Pacquaio before turned into a world boxing champion?
Goalcast looks back at the story of the boy from General Santos City and the journey that made him one of the best boxers in history.
Pacquiao was born into extreme poverty, often just eating one meal a day and drinking lots of water to fill his stomach.
He began working at age 5 in a fishing boat.
“I am a fighter, not just because it is my profession,” Pacquiao tells Goalcast. “I was a fighter long before I first set foot in a boxing ring.”
His first fight was with a boy who teased his family for being “poorer than dirt”. With one quick punch, he floored the bully.
When he had the chance to watch a Bruce Lee movie, Pacquiao was inspired by the actor’s speed and agility. To imitate Bruce Lee, Pacquiao recalls punching and kicking a large banana tree.
At age 12, his Uncle Sardo introduced him to boxing.
Sardo had no experience as a boxing coach but saw in Pacquiao the grit, hunger and drive to succeed.
Pacquiao moved in with his uncle to train full-time waking up at 4 am to go jogging.
His first punching bag was made from cardboard stuffed with clothes.
His training ground was a yard with chickens.
Pacquiao and his uncle would also watch videos of old epic boxing matches and analyze them.
“Don’t make training easy. Make it harder so that you will get better,” he says.
At age 14, Pacquiao stowed away on a boat going to Manila to pursue his boxing dream.
With no money, he would sleep on the streets and inside boxing gyms.
When he wasn’t training, he sold doughnuts, scraped off rust at a metal yard, worked as a gardener and a construction worker or washed dishes in restaurants in exchange for food.
“Life is meant to be a challenge because challenges are what make you grow,” Pacquiao stresses.
At age 16, he made it to the Philippine amateur boxing team winning 60 of his 64 bouts.
He was only 4 feet and 11 inches and weighed only 98 pounds. To qualify, he lied about his age and put steel ball bearings in his pockets to become heavier.
From a rate of $2 per fight, Pacquiao now earns up to $60M per fight.
Moreover, Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to ever win world titles in eight different weight divisions.
But his story doesn’t end there.
Never forgetting his difficult years growing up, Pacquiao now gives back.
He helps fund hospitals, schools and housing projects to improve the lives of thousands of Filipinos across the country.
To better serve his countrymen, he moved into politics. After being elected representative of his home province, he ran and won as senator.
Looking back, Pacquiao points out: “Thank you to every person who told me I can’t. You are just another reason I will.” /muf