As Manny Pacquiao prepares to go toe-to-toe and eyeball-to-eyeball with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in what is being billed as the “fight of the century,” Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has revealed some shocking facts about the popular Filipino fighter’s past, including the reason why he ran away from home as a 12-year-old.
It’s no secret that Pacquiao, 36, had a tough upbringing. Before he became a professional boxer at the young age of 14, the fearless Filipino was living on the streets and ducking and diving just to keep his head above the breadline and keep the bare knuckle bruiser that is poverty on the ropes.
Yahoo! Sports reported how Manny’s trainer recently enlightened the public to just how tough Manny had it growing up in a shantytown.
“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.
“The Philippines is a poor place, there’s no welfare, no health system and if you don’t have a job or money then you do anything to survive.”
Yet the reason why Pacquiao ended up on the streets in the first place is a horrifying one, as Roach explained.
“Manny ran away from home after his father ate his dog.”
A world where fathers eat their 12-year-old son’s pet just to survive is, thankfully, not one many of us are familiar with, but such trials and tribulations have obviously fuelled Manny in his mission to get where he is today and put something back into his beloved country.
Pacquiao is hailed as a hero in the Philippines. As well as being a renowned pugilist, he’s also something of an aspiring politician and is expected by many to run for the post of president in his native country when he hangs up the gloves.
Such is Pacquiao’s popularity that his trainer still can’t believe the awe and respect everyone in the Philippines has for the little guy.
“It’s just unbelievable. I went to his birthday party, the President of the Philippines was there, there were 5,000 people at the party, and 10,000 outside who couldn’t get in. He’s an icon, because he represents the hopes of so many people.
“When he fights, there is no crime in the Philippines, because everyone is watching him box. He has come such a long way. He wants to go into politics, he’s going to college right now and after two more years of boxing he will go into politics.”
[Image courtesy of David Becker/Getty Images]