Manny Pacquiao’s statements in politics may irk some but in boxing his are a breath of fresh air.
Take his remarks in the press conference for his fight with the fearsome Errol Spence, who is undefeated in 27 fights. The fight itself, in case some miss it, is a message.
Manny could have taken on anyone for his final fight, but he decided to fight someone 11 years younger, who is not only undefeated but boasts of 21 knockouts in 21 fights.
Will Esco of Badlefthook.com said Pacquiao wants to leave the sport fighting the best and hopes others, especially the young fighters, will also opt to fight the best too.
Off the ring, he also wants fighters to emulate him, especially in their conduct before the fight.
We all know fighters say the darndest things to sell a fight or to rile their foe, but Manny has shown us there’s no need to do that.
“No trash talking before the fight. Because I want to put boxers in a high esteem with respect from the fans and people. That’s what I want to put in the minds of the people, the fans — that boxers should be respected by the people.”
A month ago, when we thought we would be treated to an all-Filipino unification bout between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Johnreil Casimero, we all saw one of the negatives of the sport when one camp’s tirades went below the belt.
Now, a gentle reminder from Manny that there’s no need for that. Casimero, who is under Manny Pacquiao Promotions, has apologized to Donaire, and I hope his apology means a change in attitude too in future bouts.
“We are a fighter in the ring. We entertain people…but outside boxing, be an inspiration and give honor and respect so that people will respect you in high esteem.”
Respect. That’s such a heavy word. And one earns it not just by beating one’s foe senseless in the ring but one’s conduct off it.
Some of those involved in the sport, fans included, think that because the sport involves two men fighting each other, anything goes.
Yes, in the late ‘90s, it was a given. But times change, and in the past decade or so, while in his peak, Manny showed us that one can be a world-class fighter and sell fights without selling his soul.
I hope many will hear and listen to this timely message.