Pacquiao, poor and humble, great and triumphant in UK
There were startling happenings in boxing this week, like the sudden pull-out of Floyd Mayweather Jr. from a major New Year’s Day fight in Tokyo. But nothing stuns and warms the heart of the poor Filipino like Manny Pacquiao’s dignified speaking appearances at Cambridge and Oxford in the United Kingdom.
He was both super and humble, scoring brilliant win-win points with hard-earned pointers on life, thus making it appear he had added another major crown to the sensational eight world championships he has won.
The great thing was that he held his own like he was not a first-timer before the debating unions that had the likes of Winston Churchill, Robert Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa as guests in the past.
Predictably, he harked on the insufferable boyhood, when he was hungry and rat-poor, in telling his amazed audience never to be awed by the greatest odds.
In Cambridge, Pacquiao related with quiet pride that he never had the chance to pursue a degree, making it only as far as Grade Six.
He explained with a visible glow: “I did not allow these circumstances to limit me. I continue to learn from the University called Life.”
He elaborated: “Being poor does not mean one must die poor. Hard work will free you from the shackles of poverty.”
He then hurled a universal challenge to his well-heeled listeners: “You, with education, determination and faith, you can change the world.”
He was in full control during the interview from the prestigious stage.
Veteran sports columnist Joaquin Henson said it appeared Pacquiao scored a knockout in Oxford.
Henson said Pacquiao, with no pretenses whatsoever, awed with his genuine desire to uplift humanity.
Pacquiao barely touched on his boxing career, explaining that there’s the growing possibility of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. who outpointed him in a monumental bout in 2015.
Pacquiao continued to maintain he has unfinished business with Mayweather (50-0), who came out of retiremement to beat the flamboyant Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in Las vegas in 2017.
Pacquiao is scheduled to meet former two-time world champion Adrien Broner in Las Vegas on Jan. 19.
However, the boxing world has started to show bigger interest on the Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch.
Pacquiao said in Cambrige: “My thinking is to have a rematch and to make it a clear decision over who wins. The last one we had, it was not clear who won. He did not throw a lot of punches but won the fight. I had a shoulder injury. But if there’s a rematch, there’ll be no excuses.”
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