Fight of the Century: who is Manny Pacquiao?

The humble Filipino boxer is the only man to have held titles in eight weight divisions



Emmanuel 'Manny' Dapidran Pacquiao


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Born into poverty on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines in 1978, he was the fourth of six children and left home at 14. So poor were his family that his trainer Freddie Roach told Yahoo this week: "Manny ran away from home after his father ate his dog".

The young Pacquiao eventually took a boat to Manila, 500 miles from his home, and turned to boxing to survive. "He lived on the street, where he bought doughnuts at a doughnut store and then sold each one for a nickel more to survive. He slept in a cardboard box. He fought his way through all this, turned pro at 14, and look at the man he is today," said Roach.

Despite his success, Pacquiao, a committed Christian, has remained humble. "The Filipino star is modest, quiet and deeply religious – characteristics that are in stark contrast to Mayweather's brash demeanour," says the Daily Mirror. The paper adds that he eats 8,000 calories a day and will only drink water at room temperature.

He is a national hero in the Philippines. He has been a member of the Philippine House of Representatives since 2010. Many expect him to become the country's president one day.

"A boxer who had been propelled from selling sugar doughnuts, or a Chinese wine called kulafa, to gracing the cover of Time magazine under the headline 'The Great Hope', would never be allowed to wither sadly into retirement," writes Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph. "At no stage has he ever been resented for his colossal fortune. Filipinos, on the contrary, appear united in his conviction that his humility is much more than skin-deep."

He has been married to his wife, Jinkee, for 15 years and they have five children.

Boxing career:

Pacquiao is the only man to have won world titles in eight different weight divisions. His ten world titles have come in divisions from flyweight (112lb) to super welterweight (154lb). He goes into this fight as the WBO welterweight champion.

He was voted fighter of the decade for the 2000s, has won numerous fighter of the year awards and is currently the ranked the third best pound for pound boxer in the world by Ring Magazine - behind Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko.

His record ahead of the Mayweather fight reads 64 fights, 57 wins (38 knock-outs), five losses and two draws. His most recent defeats came in 2012 when he lost to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in the space of six months. But he has bounced back from those defeats and many believe he is a better fighter as a result.


Even at the age of 36 speed and staying power remain the Filipino's primary weapons. "Pacquiao has built his career on quickness and volume punching both outmanoeuvring and outworking nearly all of his opponents over the past ten years," says the London Evening Standard.

As a southpaw, Pacquiao will also come at Mayweather from a different angle, something picked up on by many commentators.


Mayweather has identified Pacquiao as a risk-taker and that could be his downfall. Former British cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson tells the Standard: "When you take the chances, you have to pay the piper at times and we’ve seen with his defeats that obviously that's happened. But that's what makes him such an exciting fighter."

At 5ft6in he is two inches shorter than his opponent and his reach, at 67in, is five inches shorter that Mayweather's.

What are his chances:

The underdog. The Ring asked 50 boxing experts and former fighters for their opinions - 42 backed Mayweather and only six said Pacquiao would win. He may have the popular vote but if the Filipino pulls it off it will be a huge shock.

He is available at 2/1 at some bookmakers, which is a big price in a two-horse race.

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