Manny Pacquiao is regarded by many as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time, known for his highly-anticipated, sell-out matches. He has won twelve major world titles, multiple awards, and his career has spanned across the worlds of basketball, tv and movies, and music. But no matter how high he flies, Manny never forgets where he comes from.
Born in the Philippines, Manny lived most of his childhood in extreme poverty. As the son of a single mother with six children, he left school at the age of 14 as his mother could no longer afford to feed a family of seven. He began boxing on the streets and turned professional two years later. “I became a fighter because I had to survive. I had nothing. I had no one to depend on except myself. I realized that boxing was something I was good at, and I trained hard so that I could keep myself and my family alive,” he said of his childhood in the Philippines.
As his talents as a boxer grew, so did his fame and fortune. In 2007, Manny decided to begin a political career alongside his sports career, holding two terms as congressman and currently one as Senator of the Philippines. In 2014, Manny also became a professional basketball player, proving himself to be an incredible sports personality as well as dedicated politician.
With a strong love of his home country, Manny regularly gave donations to people who needed it. The people of his country held a strong adoration for him as someone who has always remembered where he has come from and fights for them. When word got around he was visiting an area with donations, people would line up for hours to receive a generous donation from the professional boxer, or just to be in his presence. He would often give away 1000 pesos per person.
In 2015, Manny played against legendary Floyd Merryweather in one of the most hotly-debated fights of all time. Despite losing, he was still reported to have come away with $150 million for his participation in the ‘Fight of the Century’. As one of the most generous sports personalities in boxing, his thoughts went immediately to people in need.
He put the money towards building 1000 homes for those living in poverty in his country. “I’m so happy giving these houses free to my constituents in the Sarangani Province from my own pocket – more than thousand families are the beneficiaries,” he posted to Facebook.
Despite being a newly industrialized country and the 6th richest in Southeast Asia, poverty is high in the Philippines for its citizens, with over 20% of the population living below the national poverty line. As someone who has lived through this, Manny Pacquiao knows all too well what this is like. He sees his wealth and status as a blessing, and his duty to share with those less fortunate. “I feel what they’re feeling because I’ve been there. I’ve slept in the street. That was my life before. So hard. That’s why I feel what they’re feeling right now.”
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Source: USA Today