Photo via IRE Music Loaded.

After Manny Pacquiao’s tough unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugás in the title fight Saturday night, Pacquiao seemed upset, struggling to find words to cover the noise of his potential retirement.

He apologized to the fans in the post-fight interview for the loss and thanked everyone for making the effort to watch the fight live.

With everything Pacquiao has accomplished in boxing, the last thing he needs to do is apologize.

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) is the only eight-division world champion, the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades — 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s — and became the oldest champion in boxing history at the age of 40 when he beat Keith Thurman in 2019, to name a few accomplishments. There is nothing he needs to apologize for, especially to the Filipino fans.

(SPORTBible photo)

Pacquiao, of General Santos, Philippines, put the country on the map — a small, secluded mesh of islands that may get overlooked in the Pacific islands.

In a world where Asians tend to get overlooked, have faced discrimination in sports and Filipinos hardly navigate their way to mainstream media, Pacquiao has done it all. 

Pacquiao has given Filipinos pride. He has become their prized possession and the boxer doesn’t seem to mind it at all. 

Pacquiao, now 42, started boxing when he was 12 years old. He grew up in poverty, and began fighting because he learned in the Philippines, even if you lose, you still won money.

He grew up with a single mother — after his father had an affair when he was in fifth grade — and five siblings. There were days where Pacquiao would go to sleep with “an empty stomach and no water”, he’s said in interviews. 

This is a lifestyle Filipinos are all too familiar with. Reports say 17.6 million people live in poverty in the Philippines.

Boxing not only changed his life, but also gave hope to Filipinos around the globe.

On Wednesday, days before his fight, I interviewed Pacquiao via a Zoom call. He told me that he was “raised from nothing into something.”

He was so humble I couldn’t even believe I had spoken to the Manny Pacquiao. I still can’t believe it.

He dominated known boxers like Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto all when he was fighting to make a name for himself. My house used to shake with the noise my family would make. 

His 26-year boxing career has given my family joy. It’s given them hope. Whenever he had a fight, it was a huge gathering for my family — something similar in the Philippines itself.

Crime rates go down in the Philippines because of Manny Pacquiao. All eyes are on him — our hometown hero.

Now, this may be a stretch, cliché, or over exaggeration, but Pacquiao’s success, untouchable legacy and overwhelming love from around the globe gives Filipinos hope that we too, can achieve greatness and be showered with love too. 

All because we see someone who looks like us already doing it. 

If that was his last fight on Saturday, thank you for the electric punches, the “oh sh—t” moments and the subtle cockiness blended with your humble smile. 

So don’t apologize, Pacquiao. We can’t thank you enough. 

Sincerely,

A Filipino-American

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