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Manny Pacquiao’s Global Punch

The amazing story of Filipino boxing champ, hero, and congressman Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao, right, lands a blow against Antonio Margarito, on his way to victory in their title boxing match, Nov. 13, 2010, in Texas. (AP)

Manny Pacquiao is an actor, a singer, an entrepreneur, a sitting Congressman – and maybe the greatest boxer of our time – all time, his fans say.

The street kid who came up from abject poverty in the Philippines is the first boxer in history to win world titles – ten of them – in eight different weight divisions. He’s a superstar called the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

Saturday night, he took down his biggest opponent yet. And there’s clearly more to come. Maybe, say worshipful fans, the presidency of the Philippines.

-Tom Ashbrook


Peter Owen Nelson, journalist for HBO, Vanity Fair, ESPN.com and other outlets who has covered Manny Pacquiao’s career. Read his account for ESPN.com of Pacquiao’s training for his latest title fight.

Howard Chua-Eoan, news director for Time magazine. He grew up in the Philippines. Read his profile: “The Meaning and Mythos of Manny Pacquiao.”

Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer. He’s one of the most well-known boxing trainers in the world, and has also worked with Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson.

Bob Arum, prominent boxing promoter whose company, Top Rank, represents Manny Pacquiao. He’s promoted fights involving Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, among many others. Read the New York Daily News column about Pacquiao that Arum mentioned on air today.

More: See some Pacquiao highlights, courtesy of HBO:

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  • twenty-niner

    Why does Mayweather keep ducking Pacquiao? He needs to get this fight done before he goes to prison.

  • L Armond

    George Bernard Shaw wrote a great book on boxing. Can’t remember the title. I come from family of boxers. And my Italian Greyhound can take down any dog walking by obliviously. It is a special intelligence.

  • David Beguin

    Too bad boxing damages the brain. Even for the best (how about Mohamed Ali). Damaged brains do not allow for long productive lives. The world needs better ways of finding and rewarding potential leaders.
    Now there is another role model suggesting that boxing is the path to a good life. Really it is a tragedy – we’ll see how he hold up as he ages.

  • John Antonio

    I was born in the Philippines, but I grew up in Canada. My outlook has been shaped by my Canadian upbringing. However, my heart has always been in the Philippines, even though I left the country before I was 2.Manny symbolizes for me all the Filipino values my parents gave me – humility, hard-work, the importance of family, service to others. I’ve traveled the world and have encountered other people who see Filipinos as merely third-world migrant workers who are only good to be service workers and domestic helpers. Manny gives Filipinos great reasons to stand tall and hold their heads high. In spite of all his disadvantages, physical disadvantages and socio-economic disadvantages, he has beat all the best boxers in his weight class from around the world to be one of best fighters in history. He truly is hero to all of us Pinoys and Pinays.

  • Landon

    Connecticut: Pacquiao will not rise to the top status in America until he fights and beats Mayweather. It is said that Pacquiao has definitively beaten the top contenders that Mayweather struggled however Maywether is a defensive/counter boxer whose fights and wins differently. Brawler vs a Boxer. Yet Maywether is undefeated. In response to previous comment Maywether is not ducking Pacquiao quite on the contrary it is Pacquiao who refuses to take a random drug test. In weight class jumping and the Margarito’s disgraces it is quite reasonable for the Maywether camp to requests such testing. Maywether has more to loose.

  • g

    I think the reason he has such a loyal and excited fan base, is because he is an everyman, who came from nothing and worked his way to where he is now.

    His story is the story that we all aspire to – the rags to riches.
    Even non-Philipino people LOVE him!!!


  • Nick

    Great: let’s glorify boxing!!

  • http://www.boxingforecast.com Evan Young

    Pacquiao was a remarkable champion from Flyweight (112) to super featherweight (130) but amazingly has has looked even better against much larger, stronger opponents since he left the 130 pound division. That, to me, is the most unremarkable part of his boxing career.

    As a man, he comes off and humble, self deprecating and almost shy. I hope he gets to fight Floyd Mayweather but I have my doubts because Mayweather understands it would be a brutal loss.

    Easton,MA WBUR 90.9 Boston

  • addd

    In a sport full of guys who cant duck real competition fast enough, Manny stands out because he beats the crap out of his opponents everytime.

  • Nick

    It’s probably time for Mr. Pacquiao to retire from boxing, undefeated; too early to determine whether he has suffered much brain damage.

  • michael

    Now check this show and Glorification of violences compare to the whinning and complaining about the “Glorification of violences” in Football.

    One was stated it was bad for the kids, this show states it is great for the nation.

  • Landon

    UNDEFEATED? Pacquiao is not undefeated. Do you watch boxing?

  • Nick

    In response to Landon @ 11:41am:

    I do not watch boxing; thanks for correcting my assumption.

  • tweny-niner

    “In response to previous comment Maywether is not ducking Pacquiao quite on the contrary it is Pacquiao who refuses to take a random drug test.”

    Pitiful excuse.

    Pacquiao has fought 7 times in the last three years; Mayweather has fought twice. Other fighters don’t seem to have a problem getting in the ring with Pac, so how come they didn’t have the same excuse? Mayweather, with a two-inch height advantage and a five-inch reach advantage is a bigger man, physically, and he’s ducking Pac because he knows he’ll lose. History is going to judge Pac pound-for-pound the best fighter in his era unless Mayweather can beat him in the ring.

    This would be the first great fight of the century, and it should happen. Let the two best fighters of their generation settle it in the ring. Let’s hope Mayweather can summon the same courage as Margarito did the other night and the 56 fighters before him.

  • peter nelson

    Boxing should be banned.

    The idea of a “sport” based on nothing more than causing such serious injury to another human being that they cannot stand up, injuring someone to the point of unconsciousness is reprehensible. And people who attend matches and cheer when a human being is knocked out are disgusting.

    There is simply no justification for this being a legal activity in a civilized society and WBUR/NPR must be trying to capture some segment of the moron market by airing this.

  • twenty-niner

    “Boxing should be banned.”

    Now why don’t you use those awesome liberal powers of empathy to understand why others want to ban abortion?

  • Sophan

    @Peter Nelson:

    Yes, because we should all go about getting into the business of legislating against what consenting adults do in contact sports. There’s no denying boxing can be a brutal sport, but so are other, more mainstream sports, like MMA, Football and Hockey. Additionally, games and matches occur in this sports much more often than boxing matches do (boxers usually do only two matches a year).

    Boxing at its best is pure artistry: watch Pernell Whitaker’s dazzling defense or Floyd Mayweather throwing a beautiful 6-punch combination and you’ll experience it for yourself. To say it’s just some arcane spectacle of two people pummeling each other just isn’t accurate.

  • Roy Merritt

    I have no doubt Pacquiao is a great fighter and I admit I haven’t seen him in combat that much. I also take pride in my knowledge of the “sweet science” and from what I’ve seen of him indicates to me that he is a fighter with fast hands who has a reasonably good punch. But all this hype about him being one of the all time greatest boxers is simply that hype. In my considered opinion there a few great fighters around nowadays. There are to many sanctioning organizations, the promoters all seem to be corrupt. A fighter should restrict himself to one weight division and not try and move up to a higher division unless of course he is Sugar Ray Robinson, and even he couldn’t defeat the heat and Joey Maxim at the same time. Pacquiao couldn’t defeat the likes of Leonard, Hearns, Hagler or even Duran. I recall the old days when I’d watch Gillette Wednesday, and Friday night fights with my family and vividly remember the likes of Robinson, Cerdan, Graziano, Zale, Bo Bo Olsen, the Fulmers. Then there was Willy Pep, Sandy Sandler,
    etc. To be honest I don’t think he could beat Mayweather either. Mayweather is even faster than he is and I think has an even more potent punch. And I don’t think this because Mayweather is an American. I don’t particularly like Mayweather save but for his ability in the ring. He’s to full of himself and only Muhammed Ali could get away with that.

  • peter nelson

    Now why don’t you use those awesome liberal powers of empathy to understand why others want to ban abortion?

    I DO understand why they want to ban abortion. But I don’t agree that a 3 month fetus is a human being subject to human rights.

    My position on abortion is that the antiabortion crowd are moral cowards or hypocrites. They claim that abortion is murder but their actions don’t match their words. If we lived in a society where it was literally legal to kill children, and five-year-olds were being brought into “family planning centers” to be executed and the murderers were allowed to legally continue their trade would they STILL just protest peacefully and vote every few years?

    I wouldn’t. I would either engage in violence or leave the country if that was happening. To do otherwise would be to act like a good little German when the NAZIs started carting off the Jews. So that’s why I don’t think the antiabortion crowd really believe their own rhetoric.

    Now, are you saying boxers aren’t human?

  • peter nelson

    There’s no denying boxing can be a brutal sport, but so are other, more mainstream sports, like MMA, Football and Hockey.

    I can;’t speak for MMA or hockey, but in football the goal is not to physically injure your opponent. There are rules against unnecessary roughness and no one cheers if a player is knocked unconscious or seriously injured. The NFL is constantly reviewing rules and equipment to minimize damage to players, especially brain damage. Recent revelations about longterm effects of helmet-to-helmet hits is a huge issue right now in football. But brain damage among boxers is old news and no one in boxing cares.

    Only in boxing is a knockout, technical or otherwise, considered a good thing.

    NHL fans who go to games looking forward to “blood on the ice”, i.e., fights, are lowlife scum. I used to be a college hockey fan going to UMass and Amherst college games when I lived in Amherst Mass. I don’t think I ever saw a fight. I went to few NHL games and realized what the NHL fans were really looking forward to and stopped going.

    One of the reasons why pro hockey in the US is such a marginalized sport compared to MLB, NFL and NBA is the fighting. The NHL can’t ban it because their lowlife fans demand it. Actual game attendance is similar for NBA and NHL but the violent lowlife nature of the game keeps them from reaching a bigger national audience.

  • peter nelson

    Additionally, games and matches occur in this sports much more often than boxing matches do (boxers usually do only two matches a year).

    This just reinforces my point. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that 90% of boxers leave their careers with a brain injury. That just shows how bad boxing is, if you can do that much damage to a human being’s brain in just two fights a year.

    If the goal is NOT to injure another human being’s brain then why don’t professional fights have the boxers wear head protection? You could still have all the artistry and speed you extoll.

  • twenty-niner

    “Now, are you saying boxers aren’t human?”

    Of course they are, and they undertake the sport of their own free will; the same way, many liberals I’ve known might enjoy an afternoon with a giant cigar packed with cannabis, which may not be the best thing for one’s brain. In fact, I used to box as a kid. It helped me to not get my ass kicked in the streets of Chicago on a daily basis.

    “But I don’t agree that a 3 month fetus is a human being subject to human rights.”

    I have two little girls and witnessing their ultrasounds at four months, they looked pretty human to me. And I can see why someone may be against having the brains sucked out of an unborn baby’s head, who, of course, had no choice in the matter.

    The point is that liberals often sell themselves as enlightened, open-minded cognoscenti, but in my experience, they often only seem to be open minded toward their own points of view.

  • cory

    Pacquiao for president of the Phillipines? The world is mad. Don’t mistake me, Americans have elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Duke, Jessie Ventura, Al Franken, and Ronald Reagan.

    If we are being monitored by some advanced spacefaring civilization, they must pee in their spacesuits when we do these sorts of things.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • David Thompson

    Dull, dull program. I’m just waiting for the CBC As It Happens to come on.

    Why the heck does the moderator keep asking the question does he fight in a Phillipino way? What does that mean?

  • David Thompson

    So dull I got up and turned it off and went over the CBC website and got As It Happens off the web. Glad I didn’t contribute to NPR for junk like this.

  • Robert

    Manny is a true athlete, an intelligent, considerate, serious person. A hero to his countrymen, and to many in the world, a real person. Not a puffed up self aggrandizing, trash talking fighter, like so many in that profession. He could have beaten Margarito to a pulp in the 12th round, he backed off, a true champion. I just hope he knows when to quit, and go out of the sport a winner.

  • http://friarminor.com friarminor

    The only way to grasp or understand the heart of what Manny Pacquiao means is to be first and foremost, to learn how it is to be a Filipino and the closest thing to doing that, apart from being born as one is to be born poor among a people who have always been treated and looked upon as (even amongst themselves) ‘dirt’.

    It’s Dickensian, true but thing is he is fighting primarily not for himself but for the Filipinos as a whole – a country whose mothers leave their own children to care for others and endure humiliation and even abuse and still keep a positive perspective on things, much like how Manny treats boxing, a brutal sport but one where he still performs with class and humanity.

  • peter nelson

    performs with class and humanity

    You still haven’t explained how you can beat someone to the point of brain damage with “performs with class and humanity”.

  • William j Rack

    I pray Manny Paquiao retires now or very soon. He has accomplished the unimagineable in winning fights in eight different weight classes. He is remarkable and estimable in his humble thoughtfulness to serve his people in his home country. His strength and courage moving from abject poverty to being a suberb world class fighter, congressman and musician is inspiring to say the least. May Manny Pacquiao’s future hold promise for the people of the Phillipines. He has fought many great fights -let those fights remain in the history books as one on the greatest fighters who ever lived and have him “Manny Pacquiao” achieve for his people especially those in abject poverty the realization of a better life

  • Marc Lavine

    As someone who doesn’t know anything about boxing but saw coverage about Pacquiao in the run up to this last fight, I’d love to see some discussion or coverage of what it means that he seems so cheery, happy and peaceful in a sport so associated with toughness.

    I saw a little bit of the HBO coverage about the lead up to the fight and it certainly looked like his opponent has way more fight in him. Manny just seemed relaxed and gracious not hungry in a classical way. I think it’s very cool that he gives off this low-key friendly vibe but is still a total champ. It makes me hope that other youngsters might see that most attitude is just that: attitude and largely seperate from skills.

    Does anyone have a take on how much of his attitude is a much more admirable version of “Manny being Manny” or whether it is an expression of Filipino culture (or do other fighters go for the classical tough guy bravado?)

  • http://friarminor.com friarminor

    No doubt, boxing is a cruel sport but what choices does someone like Pacquiao have to better their lot in life. I’m sure that had he been born to relative comfort or wealth, he would’ve chosen a different path. Not that boxers are gratified to bludgeon opponents to point of permanent brain injury.

    As I’ve said, understanding the myth of what Pacquiao has done for his country is not for everyone and it is made more difficult when boxers are judged altogether as moronic bec you can see the direct display of physical assault. But then, there are a bunch of executives in offices who do more damage to a multitude of people because of greed in the name of economics and personal smarts but escape culpability.

  • Heaviest Cat

    WHAT? You call this “boxing”? They’re wearing gloves to protect their dainty little hands and they’re dancing around like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and you call that “boxing”?
              Now JOhn L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain in Richburg, Mississippi in 1899, man to man fist to fist -THAT was boxing, not this glove to glove tea party.

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