Manny Pacquiao has admitted that he cried after first surveying the devastation caused to the Philippines by Super Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month.
Pacquiao is widely regarded as the nation’s most famous sportsman. The deep and passionate connection that he has with his compatriots evoked this emotional reaction to the typhoon, which has so far claimed over 5,000 lives.
Pacquiao is set to fight Brandon Rios in Macau, China on Sunday, but he trained at his Philippines camp ahead of the bout.
Speaking to CNN, the 35-year-old remarked, “I was crying,” when asked what his first reaction to the typhoon’s devastation was. He then added, “I feel so bad… what happened. I want to visit them personally but I can’t because I’m in training. I sent my people there to help them, what I did is focus on my training and pray to God.”
Pacquiao, who is an elected official in the Philippine House of Representatives, admitted that he has sent his compatriots aid. He noted, “Right now we’ve sent them food, food is the most important thing. After that I have to help give them a fresh start in their lives.”
Earlier this week, the boxer left General Santos City, where his training camp is based, and headed to Macau for the final preparations before his encounter with Rios.
Pacquiao’s last fight ended poorly for him as he was knocked out for only the third time in his career by Juan Manuel Marquez.
Discussing the ramifications of this defeat, he noted, “I learned a lot. It’s part of boxing, sometimes you lose sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose and you have to accept it.”
However, he has dismissed claims that defeat to Rios would lead to his retirement, confidently stating, “I decided to continue my boxing career because I think I can still fight… I’m not thinking negative, I’m always thinking positive.”
He also insists that he’s “hungry” to defeat the 27-year-old, proclaiming in the final press conference before they spar, “Brandon Rios says he’s hungry to win this fight and I also say I’m hungry to win this fight because I’ve lost twice last year.”
Pacquiao then admitted that his fellow countrymen will be in his thoughts throughout the fight, stating, “I’m doing my best to give a good fight and to win the fight, especially with what happened to my countrymen and what happened to the Philippines with the typhoon. To all the people and families affected by this storm – this fight is for you.”
Rios has lost only once in 33 professional fights, while Pacquiao has succumbed to just five defeats in 61 bouts during his 18-year career.