The life of prizefighter Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao has been told and retold countless times. Still, it never gets old. From being dirt-poor, having experienced extreme poverty to overcoming adversity through courage and perseverance – his is one of the best Filipino success stories.
“I never imagined life would bring me to where I am now. I never dreamed of all the accomplishments my future would hold,” wrote Manny in one of his social media posts.
He added, “Boxing changed my life forever. It lifted my family and me out of poverty, brought me places I never dreamed I would be, and provided me the opportunities to help others along the way.”
Manny made his professional boxing debut on January 22, 1995, at the age of 16. He won via unanimous decision after a four-round bout.
“Being born into poverty is not a choice. My siblings and I grew up with nothing. No food, no shelter, not knowing if we could survive another day without food. That did not stop me though,” said the world-class pugilist. “I didn’t have time to be lazy. My family’s life was on the line. I could not just stand by and do nothing. I had to fight.”
And fight he did – all 71 of them!
Now 42, Manny’s record is an unprecedented 62 wins, 39 knockouts, and 12 major world titles. His victories inside the ring have earned the respect of athletes and celebrities the world over. But more than that, he has given the Filipino people a sense of pride.
Outside the ring, Manny is a senator and a military reservist with the rank of colonel. He is also a family man and a Christian. Speaking at the Cambridge Union in 2018, Manny said:
“Without the benefit of hindsight, I have realized that it is by the grace of God that transformed me from nothing into something… Opportunities came knocking at my door one after the other. But although I have savored the perks of luxury, the wedges of poverty are etched in my memory.
“It is too much I know to wish that no one would have to live in poverty anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, poverty is a harsh reality we must accept. What I can do is use my struggle to convince others that there is a reason to fight, that giving up should not be an option and that winning despite the odds can happen.”
It’s been 26 years since Manny began his journey. He has never forgotten where he came from and the people who have supported him along the way. In fact, every year, he lets the world know how grateful he is through social media. Recently, he posted in his Facebook and Instagram accounts about his journey as a professional boxer
This year, Manny gave tribute to a “partner,” that has been supporting him since the beginning of his career. “I had to punch my way to victory every time. Before that, I had to train. More days than not, bugbog ako. Kaya tanong sa’kin, paano ko nagagawa ‘to?
“My secret is speed — in my punches and my pain recovery. Most of all, it’s my family and friends, my fans, my coach and team, and my partner Ibuprofen + Paracetamol (Alaxan FR), kasama ko sa laban since 1995.”
Alaxan FR is a pain reliever brand by Unilab, Inc. recommended for a common type of body and muscle pain. The brand’s current campaign #LabanLang resonates with Manny’s warrior spirit, a fighter who never backs down on anything despite troubles and hardships.
“I dreamed about success when I was young. I dreamed of becoming a world champion one day. It didn’t come easy. Nothing worth having ever comes easy. I had to work for it. If the world knocks you down, get up. If all things conspire against you, fight back. Quitting is not an option,” he ended.