The unparalleled greatness of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has made an impact not only in boxing, but also in the whole martial arts community.
Pacquiao, who formally announced his retirement via a social media video on Thursday, is not just admired for his exploits inside the ring but off it.
Orient Pacific Boxing Federation vice president Hubert Minn views Pacquiao as “one of all-time best in the sport of boxing, especially in the OPBF.”
“But not primarily because of his boxing accomplishments, but more due to his humanness,” said the veteran World Boxing Council boxing ring official, who has now taken the role as the second-highest official of the OPBF.
Minn, a Hawaiian who openly admires Filipino boxers, said Pacquiao is a “great representative of the Filipino culture.”
Pacquiao was former OPBF champion in 1997 when as a flyweight campaigner, he knocked out Thai Chokchai Chokvivat in Mandaluyong. After a successful defense of the title, he went on to become the WBC flyweight king when he knocked out another Thai, Chatchai Sasakul, in December 1998.
Pacquiao started moving up from one weight division after another and while he’s stamping his class in the brutal sport of boxing, his soft heart has endeared him to the poor people, especially in his home province in Socsargen.
“A humane person is one who shows great compassion and caring for others, including animals, and who tries whenever possible to alleviate another’s suffering. The idea of being humane is linked to a higher level of a person’s character,” said Minn.
Mark Sangiao, founder and head coach of Team Lakay that has been making waves in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, expressed his gratefulness to Pacquiao for serving as an inspiration not only in sports, but in every soul that dreams to be someone and something in a world where achieving is almost impossible.
“Thank you for giving your all, for being the great Pacquiao we know. May the Great Force be with you always and let me say how grateful we are in my Igorot language —‘Iyaman Apo,’” said Sangiao.
One of Pacquiao’s close friends in boxing, Gerry Penalosa, had mixed emotions when the boxing senator finally bid boxing goodbye.
“Nakakalungkot but happy at the same time, madadagdagan ang oras niya sa family (niya). Mami-miss namin ang isang Manny Pacquiao sa itaas ng boxing ring, na naka-unite sa Filipino people everytime na lumaban siya. Thank you, Manny.”
Boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano summed it all up in Manny’s 26 years as a pro boxer—62 wins in 72 fights; 39 victories by way of knockout; 13 world titles in eight different weight classes; three-time fighter of the year; Fighter of the Decade awardee and the only eight-division world champion.
“There is no denying that he singlehandedly changed boxing’s landscape in its entirety. This generation is very fortunate to have witnessed all the wonders he has done inside the ring. Truly, his caliber as an athlete comes only once in a lifetime.”
While doing boxing, Pacquiao’s political journey has brought him to the halls of the Senate.
On Friday, Pacquiao filed a candidacy that he hopes would bring him to the Malacañang Palace.
Another journey for this man of destiny.