A born fighter
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2020 - 12:00am

Born in 1978, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Manny was raised in a poor family and everyday, he prayed hard for a better life. As a young boy, when he had the chance to fish, he would sell half of his portion and kept the other half to feed his family. At five years old, Manny witnessed an encounter between rebel forces and the army. It was a life lived on the outskirts of nowhere that seeing most things daily for others was at one point something very new to the champ.

Manny Pacquiao dropped out of school in the sixth grade and went many times without eating so his family could. At age 12, he became the man of the house. Winning a fight worth P100 on a Sunday led him to gold and one day, he found himself in Manila sleeping at the gym.  His early days as a boxer was described as lacking rhythm and rhyme but one thing was very evident in Manny – his passion for the sport. He loved boxing. He saw it as a way of improving his life for his family.

When the time came for him to join the big league, he worked hard at making himself better each day and made his right hand just as good as his left and, although Manny had a lot of chronic problems, he went about his day just the same, becoming better and better with so much power and a whole lot of heart. Every single match has been a great moment for the Philippines.

One time, I tuned in to the fight over AM radio instead of watching it on television and, I was blown away while having to park my car at the side of the road without bothering about the possibility of crime. As everyone knows, the entire country is on ceasefire each time Manny fights. I can go on and on about the wins, the punches and the knockouts of our “Pambansang Kamao” but, after watching documentaries and doing much research, I would like to focus instead on this man’s attitude in life.

You see, I think many of you will agree when I say, you can be the absolute smartest person in the world but, if you don’t have the right attitude about things, we can almost be sure to expect to fall and, falling is not about losing… it is about failing to learn. Manny believes that what he has done is God’s will and while his success has put him on the level of Elvis in the Philippines, the champ keeps fighting. He fights for us and wins for us and most of all, every fight has reclaimed our identity as Filipinos simply because the best fighter in the world IS a Filipino.

My mother always tells me that in everything, in all the good and the bad, we must thank the Lord. I never really understood this until I saw Manny after the Bradley fight as he said, and I quote, the plan of God is bigger than we think. I suppose it takes a fighter to educate another fighter on this. Now I understand better.

COVID-19 is teaching me so much about humility and patience. It is also teaching me to endure so many things that I would much rather not endure. But a fighter fights even on the bad days. And on the good days, he fights even when losing is least expected. Fight a good fight. This is important. Most of all, it is also important to remember where we came from. Humility is a very powerful virtue as it puts a spotlight on our behavior and our approach to life.

Manny Pacquiao, as he says, came from nowhere and now, he is everywhere, but he is still learning what God’s plan is for him, and for his life. Boxing, as Pacman says, gives people power and hope, and to him, it has given him a voice. While we continue to ponder about our life’s purpose, we must also remember who we are and for Manny, whatever life brings him, whatever arena he may enter, one thing is for sure…  he will always be a fighter.

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