Today I want to be different and write something special. As you probably heard, whether you're a fan of boxing or not, a big event is going to happen on Saturday, May 2.
This is the match between Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
People are calling this match "The Fight of the Century" -- which means it is a very, very big fight. Why? Because both Pacquiao and Mayweather are considered to be the best boxers in the world, and it isn't so common for two great fighters to come together on the ring.
This fight is also being called "the richest boxing match in history." Mayweather can win up to $150 million while Pacquiao can get up to $100 million. But this doesn't mean that they need the money at all.
Mayweather has earned more than $400 million dollars over his 19-year career, while Pacquiao has earned about $260 million in 20 years. Mayweather, whose nickname is "Money," also has a mansion in Las Vegas, a private jet, and a large collection of cars.
More than the money, the two fighters are defending their current championship titles. Mayweather has WBC and WBA welterweight titles while Pacquiao has the WBO title. Finally, Mayweather has never been beaten before. He has had 47 fights and 47 wins, 26 of which were KOs (knockouts). As you can imagine, whoever will be the winner of this match can proudly call himself the champion of champions, while the loser, well...
Some sport commentators have expressed that Mayweather has more to lose in the fight than Pacquiao, but that's just because they're not Filipino and they don't know how Filipinos feel about Pacquiao.
Now the question is, why am I writing about a boxing match in my blog? That's because among my foreigner friends, only a couple of Filipinos are well-known:
(1) Charice = the singer of the 2010 hit song Pyramid and a former cast member of Glee
(2) apl.de.ap = Filipino-born American rapper and member of the The Black Eyed Peas
|"Apl de ap 061014 2" by Frederick Manligas Nacino (Opusdeiphotography) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apl_de_ap_061014_2.jpg#/media/File:Apl_de_ap_061014_2.jpg|
(3) Manny Pacquiao
Who is Pacquiao?
Pacquiao is many things. First and foremost, he is a professional boxer and a world champion. But outside boxing, he is also an elected government official, a Congressman of the Philippines. He has also tried basketball, acting, and singing. One of his most famous nicknames is Pac-man.
He is all these things, and more. He is also called the "National Fist" of the Philippines. To explain what this means to non-Filipinos, Pacquiao brings his countrymen a lot of honor.
When he was young, he lived in a small crude house made of cardboard together with his six siblings. He stopped going to school when he was 10 years old, and ran away from their home in the province at the age of 15.
He slept on the streets of Manila and some days had nothing to put in his stomach, only water.
Finally, he turned to boxing, and in the beginning earned only $2 per match.
The picture above was taken when Pacquiao was just 17 years old, a teenager training and dreaming to be a boxer. At that time, a big match was an impossible dream to him.
As fate would have it, on Saturday he would be joining a fight that could earn him up to $100 million.
What It Means to Filipinos
To Filipinos, Pacquiao is so many things: athlete, government official, actor, singer, godfather, idol. To many, he is more than just a man. He is real-life hero who carries a lot of hopes and dreams. From his very simple childhood to the success story he is today, his countrymen, the Filipino people, have been a part of his journey, cheering him on during the fight and mourning as a whole country with each loss. Filipinos see in Pacquiao the personification of their individual struggles, the possibility that one common man can rise to the height of legend.
The Philippines isn't so competitive and record-breaking when it comes to the Olympics. The favorite sport is basketball although the Filipinos are not very tall. The soccer craze hasn't quite hit, unlike in many other countries. But if Brazilians have soccer, Filipinos have boxing.
|This is a screen shot from the music video "Dar Um Jeito"|
It's the people's passion. When a world-class fighter like Pacquiao makes history, everybody's watching and supporting, every where, in every way.
|A clever ad of Mcdonald's Philippines, because it's very hot in the Philippines in May|