Heartwarming Story of Manny Pacquiao: Abject Poverty to World Champion


As the world gets ready for one of the greatest, the most anticipated, and definitely the most widely followed boxing matches around the world, the two fighters who will be in the boxing ring, in the middle of all the action, are being very closely watched. Every single word or comment from them or their camps is getting scrutinized by experts and fans alike. But during this entire hullabaloo, a look at the past lives of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao has got ignored. Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, shed some light on the boxing champ’s past life. It is an incident that Roach shared which allows one to peek into the heartwarming story of Pacquiao from his childhood days in abject poverty to being the world champion.


The story about how this boxing champion became such a huge superstar has missed the attention. The revelation from Roach that Pacquiao had run away from home when he was 12-years-old to live on the streets, and survived, has shocked one and all. He further revealed that young Pacquiao did so because his father was forced to cook his dog for food due to absolute poverty. Heading towards the boxing match on Saturday, May 2, slated as the ‘Fight of the Century’ in which Pacquiao faces Mayweather, Roach has made this astonishing revelation. He said that after Pacquiao caught his father eating his dog for food, he ran away as he was absolutely devastated.

pacquiaoRoach shared that the Pacquiao family was so impoverished that there was no food in the house. After this, his fighter decided to live his life on the poverty-stricken streets of the Philippines. However, as per the famous quote by Mark Twain, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” With his determination, talent, and more importantly, his need to improve his condition, Pacquiao turned professional boxer within the next two years, when he was just 14-years-old.


Pacquiao survived on the streets where he often purchased doughnuts from a doughnut store and later sold each one for a nickel more. He slept in a box made of cardboard. He fought his way through and turned pro at 14. Comparing to where he is today, it feels like a completely different life. What is heartwarming about Pacquiao’s story is that he has remained grounded even after becoming the world champion having lived in abject poverty. Roach went on to say that Philippines is a poor country without any welfare benefits, or health system. Common people in the country do various odd jobs to survive, if they do not have money.


The fight at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, will generate revenues close to $300 million for Mayweather and Pacquiao. As per the terms, the revenues will be split between the two in a ration of 60/40, with Mayweather taking the larger share. The 38-year-old Mayweather reached the MGM Arena Tuesday, April 28. He is an 11-time world champion in five different divisions. Pacquiao is 36-years-old and is the first and the only boxer ever to be a world champion in eight different divisions. He has won 10 world titles and is also the first to win the lineal championship in four weight classes.


Pacquiao was named ‘Fighter of the Decade’ for the 2000s by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), World Boxing Council (WBC), and Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He has also won the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011, and BWAA ‘Fighter of the Year’ award in 2006, 2008, and 2009. Pacquiao, the current WBO welterweight champion, has lost only five fights out of 64 and has two draws in this entire career. Mayweather holds the record of not losing a single fight at 47-0. The heartwarming story of Pacquiao having faced abject poverty and going on to become the world champion is inspiring to say the least, and it definitely raises expectations of a mouth-watering clash.

By Ankur Sinha

The Independent
The Telegraph
The Daily Mail

Photos by:
Oliver Petalver / TheDailySportsHerald(1)-Creativecommons Flickr License
Oliver Petalver / TheDailySportsHerald(2)-Creativecommons Flickr License

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