LOS ANGELES — Manny Pacquiao’s rags to riches tale is one of boxing’s most remarkable stories.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) is the sport’s only eight-division world champion. The 42-year-old Filipino legend reached such heights after surviving a youth on the streets of General Santos City in the Philippines.
Once he found boxing, his fighting spirit paved a path for him to persevere over a 26-year career that has spanned over four different decades.
His next fight on August 21 against Errol Spence Jr. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on FOX Sports pay-per-view may very well be Pacquiao’s last.
Pacquiao reflected on his life during the promotion of his upcoming fight against the WBC and IBF welterweight champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs).
“Believe me, where I came from, I cannot believe what I have done, what I have accomplished,” said Pacquiao. “Until now, I am amazed at what I have done. I experienced sleeping in the streets with no food and shelter. My relationship to God and where I came from inspires me. I always think about my family, myself and where I came from. How hard life was, all those things. By God's guidance, I am always inspired.”
Pacquiao's life took a turn for the good once he left his vices behind and became a born again Christian in the latter stages of his career.
Pacquiao has one of boxing most remarkable resumes in history with wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Jessie Vargas, Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios.
He's also twice beaten Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez (also one loss, one draw), Erik Morales (also one loss) and Timothy Bradley (also one loss). In the biggest fight of his career in 2015, Pacquiao came up short via unanimous decision against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in boxing's most lucrative fight of all time.
Throughout all of the big-time fights and promotions, the southpaw has always remained soft-spoken and well mannered, a personality trait he’s particularly proud of.
“Yeah, being an example, especially not to be a trash talker before the fight,” he said. “I want boxing and fighters to have a high standard from the fans and with the people. We are fighters in the ring. We entertain and do our best but outside boxing is an inspiration, and gives honor and respect.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com