There is no doubting the pedigree of this boxing icon. Having won in all 3 Glamour Division championships (Flyweight, Featherweight and Heavyweight), won the Lineal Championships in 5 different weight classes, holding ten world titles - from which he also become the only ever eight-division world champion. If this overwhelming top sheet of accolades (which skim the surface of his career accomplishments) doesn't impress - he's also listed on the Forbes list of Worlds Highest Paid Athletes.
There can be no question as to this man's abilities - but when a career like this continues to thrive year after year, it's more than raw talent propelling him forward. In his own words, he praises those around him - including his fans, for his success: "All those who are around me are the bridge to my success, so they are all important.". In more recent years, his strong faith influencing his life more, he thanks God for his success. Yet this still fails to adequately paint a picture of the fire that burns within this fighter, the passion that fuels his success.
Born in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines, Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao was in no clear way marked for greatness. This high school dropout, who would find himself living on the streets of Manila at 14 could not foresee the heights to which he would soar. It was this time on the streets which lead him toward boxing; finding room and board provided by the Phillippine National Amateur Boxing Team. It's rumoured Manny had an amateur record of 64 fights (60-4).
The immense success of the average man usually abates at retirement; clearly, Manny is no average man! Moving into political life, he has twice been elected and served as a Congressman for the Phillippine House of Representatives (15th and 16th). Further proof of the drive which is so ubiquitous in his life.
So when it comes to this forthcoming fight, will it last? For the man who has a selection of oversized belts, retirement was always going to be a short-lived venture - even with a life in public office. But having secured the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for October 15th, Pacquiao's promoter has since been hedging this commitment, voicing concerns over the demands of a political life. These concerns are over a political life Manny was committed when this date was confirmed.
Last year's loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. was clearly quite a blow to the athlete - though that did seem to fuel his fight and preparations going forward; no-one can deny the talent he brought to April's win over Timothy Bradley Jr. was backed up by the tighter technique and stronger reflexes of heavier training.
Whatever the drive, and whether it can be as powerful to a part-time athlete in a politician's life, it's a remarkable piece of boxing history. Perhaps one of the most valuable for being intangible! We place merit on those relics and austere reverence on pieces of sporting memorabilia which make up the history of the events we loved so much. Let's just hope, it's enough to get the senator another title come autumn.
For the many supporters of the Philippine legend, see our Manny items in the Allcourt Sport shop:
A beautiful piece of memorabilia for any football fan. A limited edition framed montage from the greatest player of all time.