Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is grooming eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao to be his successor - which is not a surprise to many in the country.
"I am dedicating this message to Manny. You know why? I told him one time, while we were alone: 'Your style encourages me to make you President. You know, you can do it,'" Duterte recently stated during Pacquiao's 39th birthday party.
Last year, Pacquiao became a senator in the Philippines. In the 2016 polls, Pacquiao got 15,592,390 votes, landing him the seventh spot in the 12-man senatorial slate.
Before he was senator, he was a congressman of the Sarangani province.
"As a senator, you have demonstrated the qualities of a true leader-someone who believes that in order to make the Philippines a better country, we have to keep our people on top of our priorities," Duerte said.
The President lauded Pacquiao's achievements in boxing.
"You have brought so much pride and joy to our country for being a world champion in the field of boxing. The determination you have shown and the humility you embody in the midst of glorious triumphs are worthy of emulation by our countrymen," Duterte said in front of Pacquiao and hundreds of guests in a celebration the KCC Convention in General Santos City.
Pacquiao, who holds a record of 59 wins, 7 losses, and 2 draws, is not ready to hang up the gloves just yet.
The veteran is being prepped for a ring return on a date in April - against someone in the top 15.
Pacquiao has been out of the ring since July, when he lost his WBO world title by way of an big upset decision loss to Jeff Horn before a crowd of 51,000 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
A rematch with Horn was planned for November, but Pacquiao was forced to withdrew citing conflicts with his work schedule as a senator.
Now Horn is likely going to face mandatory challenger Terence Crawford on a date in April in Las Vegas. And Bob Arum of Top Rank, who promotes Pacquiao, wants the Filpino superstar to face the winner in the fall.