Pacquiao is larger than life
By Eddie Alinea
Fri, 18 Feb 2011
If there’s anything Manny Pacquiao’s visit to United States President Barack Obama has proven, it is that the Filipino eight-division world boxing champion is more than what he’s been pictured all his 15-year fight career.
While he has shown time and again that whenever he fights, he holds the entire country at a standstill, in that historic moment of Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), the “Pacman” held the whole of international media captive.
Every media outfit, from the print to broadcast to website dedicated big space on the day the reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion was to be received by the most powerful leader of the world.
That no other boxer had ever been accorded the honor, not even the past and present world champions, we’re sure, made the 32-year-old father of four to wife Jinkee prouder to be a Filipino.
Pacquiao himself could not believe the experience of meeting and talking with President Obama in person.
“Hindi ko lubos maisip na minsan ay itinuring akong bale-wala. Ngayon, ang presidente ng United States of America ang aking nakaharap at lubos ang aking kasiyahan,” he told Malaya-Business Insight in response to a query sent via text message.
“Kaya nga lalo akong nagging very proud na maging Pilipino because siguro kung hindi ako Pilipino, hindi mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na makaharap man lamang ang pinaka-makapangyarihang lider ng sang bansa sa buong mundo,” he said. “marami naman ang naging kampeon sa mundo sa larangan ng boksing at me mga Amerikano pa. Pero hindi sila nabigyan ng pagkakataong gaya ng ibinigay sa akin.”
“Ang kaangalang ibinigay sa aking ito ay patunay lamang na kahit na ang isang tao ay galling sa matinding hirap at nagsikap para makawala sa kahirapan ay may tatanggaping gantimpala kahit mula sa the most powerful man in the world,” he stressed.
That 15th of February, held as the final leg of the promotional tour to hype his coming fight with Sugar Shane Mosley turned more than that. If in Washington, messages are conveyed and not spoken, that memorable day marked the Filipino icon’ elevation to the status as a symbol of the Third World.
He is the icon of the poor having risen from poverty to become one of the most influential, if not powerful, men in the world like his host that day. .
As one writer reported, “he is man and he contains multitudes. Taken in total, he is more a living monument to achievement. When events are held with and for him, they need not have a clear ask or message. They simply need to have him.”
Bob Arum, head of Pacquiao’s promoter Top Rank, said earlier in the day during a reception at the U.S. Senate arranged by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, “Pacquiao symbolizes the Third World Poverty. People all over the globe who can, following his example, rise up and establish a decent life for themselves. That's why he resonates so much in this country and around the world. He's a symbol for all the poor people in all the countries around the world."
Asked to contextualize what the event was all about, Arum retorted: “It's an accolade that's well-deserved. And is there any other boxer alive who could ever reach such heights. No, not around now. And the only boxer that was capable of this was [Muhammad] Ali.”
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