Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has revealed on the eve of his welterweight world title defence against Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas tonight [tomorrow for online] that considering running for President of The Philippines when the national elections are due in that country in 2022.
The remarkable rise from poverty in a shanty town not merely as an eight-weight world boxing champion, but also as a congressman and senator in his homeland in the last decade has made Pacquiao a
sporting icon across his twenty year fight career. As Pacquiao prepared for fight number 72 in his professional career, defending his World Boxing Association title against the Cuban Ugas – a replacement for opponent Errol Spence who withdrew last week due to an eue injury requiring retinal surgery – the 42-year-old told The Daily Telegraph. “I’m still boxing because I love fighting. It’s my passion and that’s why I’m still here. I have a passion and dedication to boxing. Boxing is different to politics. There are a lot of dirty tactics in politics. What I’ve learnt in political life is to be true and honest. I learned to be me, defend the people and stand firm on what I believe. I am considering running for President. After the fight, by September, I’ll announce what position I’ll run for.”
Pacquiao also admitted to The Telegraph that his journey is about serving others. “I couldn’t have imagined what I’ve done in boxing when I was young. Sleeping in the street to now – where I am a boxer, a champion and a senator. I will always be giving away what I have. That’s my rule to be a hero and servant to the people. I believe in God. I believe God raised me from nothing to something for a purpose. That purpose I now understand. I was a boy with nothing. God’s plans are higher than our plans.”
Pacquiao reflected when asked if this will be his last fight against 35-year-old Ugas – record 26 wins, four defeats – against whom the Filipino has been installed as the favourite. “It’s hard to say. It could be. But a few years from now I think I will be focusing on serving people, helping poor people. I know, because I’ve been there. I was poor, had nothing, we didn’t have food to eat,” Pacquiao told The Daily Telegraph.
“My desire is to help them because our country is mismanaged. I want to fight for them and to work for a better country. What we really need is a leader that has this desire and is honest and is able to achieve those goals.”
Sean Gibbons, Pacquiao’s manager, told The Daily Telegraph: “I think it is a bit of a stretch if he is elected President that Manny will still box. It’s pretty tough to be a fighting President, even though you are fighting every day for the people you represent. A win would create a feelgood factor for the country he’s represented for 26 years. In my opinion, he is one of the top three greatest boxers in history given what he has done and achieved.”