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Pacman, my idol

MANILA, Philippines - On Dec. 17, 1978, a legend and a hero in boxing was born. Manny Pacquiao (a.k.a. Pacman, The Mexicutioner) has recently been dubbed as the world’s greatest boxer.

Born in the Philippines 30 years ago, Pacquiao has won matches against some of the greatest names in boxing including Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton. He has won more weight classes than any boxer and has achieved an incredible all-time record. Pacquiao, however, is more than a great boxer. He gives hope to the Philippines — a country plagued by political corruption and recent calamity. Pacquiao is as famous for his left hook as much as he is idolized by 92 million Filipinos.

For me, Pacquiao is a symbol of power. He does not only know how and when to pack a powerful punch, but has captured the hearts of his countrymen and his many fans worldwide by winning seven different world-class titles.

One of the famous Pacquiao fights was his match against Hatton. Hatton was a famous British boxer who was a former world welterweight champion. During his recent fight with Pacquiao, the latter knocked him down twice in the first round. In the second round, Pacquiao got him with a deadly left hook that knocked him out and it prompted the referee to end the match.

Another exciting and memorable recent win for Pacquiao was his match with the “Golden Boy of Boxing,” Oscar dela Hoya. De la Hoya was the obvious favorite to win the fight but cool Pacquiao knocked him out as well. That fight made De la Hoya officially retire from boxing. Pacquiao’s performances in the ring amaze the boxing analysts including those who are not his fans. His very latest win against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico proved just that: That Pacquiao is unbeatable!

I have watched the last three of Pacquiao’s major fights and wins with a lot of excitement, suspense and cheers from my family and friends who are all of course, Pacquiao die-hards. To call Pacquiao a great boxer would be like calling Ghandi a “pretty o.k. dude” or would be like going to outer space and saying, “It was fun!” Both of these are true but an understatement. Pacquiao, the boxer that holds the record for most titles in seven different weight classes — something that Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather or even Sugar Ray Robinson could not do — is just magical.

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In the Philippines where he grew up poor and only got an elementary education, Pacquiao is a hero who is rumored to have political ambitions so he can uplift poverty and help get rid of corruption the country is notorious for. He also dabbles in show business — perhaps to please his alter ego — but regardless, Pacquiao’s humility, generosity and the prestige he has made for his country have already made him a Filipino icon. And the Pacman will always carry the country on his arm because he has the strength, the power, the money, the popularity and the acquired discipline to work hard and win hard. In other words, he is the people’s hope and the pride of the Philippines!

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The author is a 12-year-old middle school student at the Salk School of Science in Manhattan. He is a serious athlete who considers boxing as one of his favorite sports. Someday, he would like to meet his idol, Manny Pacquiao.

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