Why is everyone from lightweight to middleweight eyeballing a shot at Manny Pacquiao? Obviously, it’s about money– as Manny is still one of the sport’s biggest draws. It’s also about the feat of toppling a legend and piggybacking off that victory.
But beating Pacquiao carries a greater weight than beating any other boxing legend. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer has become a cultural icon to his fellow Filipinos and a hero to people all over the world.
Here’s just a taste of why Manny matters, delivered via his own words.
“I remember as a little boy I ate one meal a day and sometimes slept in the street. I will never forget that and it inspires me to fight hard, stay strong and remember all the people of my country trying to achieve better for themselves.”
“All those who are around me are the bridge to my success, so they are all important.”
“Don’t make training easy. Make it harder so that you will get better.”
“Anyone will succeed in whatever field of endeavor in life by acquiring the same virtues and character that boxing world champions do – dedication, perseverance, courage, extreme self-discipline and prayers.”
“I want to let people know that there is God who can raise someone from nothing into something. And that’s me. I came from nothing into something and I owe everything to God. He gave me this blessing. It’s all credit to the Lord.”
“I’ve always fought for my country, showing that Filipinos are strong people and can do anything that they put their minds to.”
“It’s not about material things, it’s about the honor that I’m bringing to the country.”
“Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.”
“Fearless is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again, even though every time you’ve tried before you’ve lost.”
“Life is meant to be a challenge because challenges are what make you grow.”
“Thank you to every person who has told me I can’t. You are just another reason I will.”
“There are three things you need to remember in boxing, work hard, work harder, and work hardest.”
“I came to fight. I did my best and I think that’s enough.”
“Boxing is not about your feelings. It’s about performance.”
“I’m just appreciative of everything that has happened in my life. I’m overwhelmed, sometimes, by this. When I see where I grew up and the places I’ve been, it puts a smile on my face because of all the people there I can help. I give them food; I give them money; I try to provide them with a good lifestyle, and do the best I can because that’s where I came from. Those are my people.”
“I mean, Jesus lives in me so I’m always happy. Says the Bible, everyday has enough troubles of its own, so don’t be bothered about that.”
“I still think about the time when I was fighting for my first real big fight against [Marco Antonio] Barrera back in 2002. I know he can come in thinking that he has nothing to lose, and that’s why I have to be aware of that.Always be prepared.”
“I hate politicians. I hate politics. But if I start to go into politics, I think I believe that I can serve more, I can help more people.”
“Boxing is a sport. We allow each other to hit each other, but I’m not treating my opponent like my enemy. We’re doing a job to entertain people.”
“My success is not about wealth and fame. I am most concerned with my relationship to God, which is the most important.”