EXCLUSIVE: Manny Pacquiao Says He Was Raised From ‘Nothing To Something For A Purpose’
Tomorrow, Manny Pacquiao is returning to the ring to go toe-to-toe with Yordenis Ugas in the main event. On Wednesday, Pacquiao told FIGHT SPORTS that his nearly three-decade boxing career is more than he could have ever imagined.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) said the answer to becoming an eight-division world champion and the first boxer to ever become a four-decade world champion — to name a few achievements – is all simple. It’s part of God’s plan for him.
“God raised me from nothing into something for a purpose, and this is God’s plan that I became a world champion and become a politician, a leader,” Pacquiao told FIGHT SPORTS. “Whatever God’s plan is I will fulfill that plan to protect the people and fight for the people.”
Pacquiao grew up in poverty.
The Filipino was born in Kibawe, Bukidnon, but was raised in General Santos, Philippines. He was brought up by his single mother with his five siblings. His parents separated after his father had an affair when he was in sixth grade.
Pacquiao, 42, started boxing at 12 years old because he and his friends learned that even if you lose, you still get money. If he won a fight, he’d get paid 100 pesos — Philippines’ currency. If he lost, he’d get 50 pesos. So, he’d get $2 for winning and $1 for losing.
He won the fight.
With the win, in those days, he could buy two pounds of rice for 32 pesos.
Now, 30 years later, the Filipino boxer can buy more than just rice.
After he fought Floyd Mayweather in 2015, he had earned almost $500 million from his professional boxing career at that point. Still, Pacquiao told FIGHT SPORTS he knows what it’s like to have nothing.
“Be fair to everyone. Do not take advantage of other people… in order to become a successful person in life,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, boxers Brian Castano, Sergio Martinez and Andy Ruiz Jr. paid tribute to the Pacman and his career, calling him a “role model” and “inspiration.”
Pacquiao is considered by many to be one of the greatest professional boxers of all time. He is the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing and has won twelve major titles. In July 2019, when he beat Keith Thurman, he became the oldest world champion at the age of 40.
The decorated boxer is also a senator of the Philippines and was the player-coach of Philippine Basketball Association team Kia/Mahindra for three seasons. He founded semi-professional Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Leading up to Saturday’s super welterweight title fight, Pacquiao has hinted at retirement, but at the final press conference, he backtracked and said, “you never know.”
But looking back, Pacquiao said he’d tell his 12-year-old self to “just go for it,” help his mother and just believe in himself.
“That’s my experience… That’s why I’m here,” he said. “God gave me these blessings because of my heart. That’s my life story.”
Pacquiao and Ugas is expected to hit the ring on Saturday around 11:30 p.m. eastern time in the United States. Here’s where you can watch the fight around the world.