Not since Lapu Lapu killed the colonizer Magellan (April 27, 1521) has there ever been a fighter like Manny Pacquiao.
Pound-for-pound, at 5’6″, 145 pounds, Pacquiao’s the best boxer in the world. And he’s 100 percent pure Filipino.
All the traits are there.
He’s so religious he sounds like my mother. (“Believe in God, always pray,” he said at the news conference). At the same time, the guy fights like a harried cock in spurs ready to bloody you to kingdom come.
And on top of it all, there’s that disarming Filipino charm. The champ exudes charm.
It’s a formula that makes promoter Bob Arum’s jaw drop.
“He’s got a tremendous personality,” Arum told me after the baseball/boxing press conference (See it on this blog’s first video entry). “He’s very promotable, and he’s become the best fighter in the world. That’s a dynamite combination.”
Arum should know. He had a piece of Oscar de la Hoya, the one time “Golden Boy” whom Pacquiao turned into salsa and bean dip last December. Now Arum moves forward with Manny without missing a beat, like he’s punching a speed bag filled with cash.
When I saw Pacquiao totally dominate De la Hoya, I wondered if Manny would ever reach the kind of media prominence that Oscar did with all his endorsements.
After all, at first glance he didn’t appear to have the same Hollywood-style of Oscar, the smooth-talking LA barrio glamour boy.
I mean, he looked like the kind of Filipino immigrant who you walk by everyday on Muni.
But Arum feels Manny’s potential is far greater than Oscar’s.
“We believe Manny has a bigger appeal worldwide than De la Hoya ever had,” Arum said. “Manny is making an impression on the world that Oscar never did. Oscar’s appeal was more regional and national. Big, but not what’s happening with Manny.”
Arum sees Pacquiao’s popularity set to rise like global warming. On May 2nd Manny moves up in class against the Junior Welterweight Champ Ricky Hatton of the UK. Billed as “The Battle of East and West,” the potential payoff to Pacquiao for the Las Vegas fight? A cool $20 million.
It’s just the beginning for a guy with Pacquiao’s irresistible “Everyman” appeal.
Indeed, the cross-promotion with the Giants was a way to test the broader market along with his ethnic base.
How did “Everyman” mesh with “Every Filipino”? Continue reading Manny Pacquiao: The Philippines’ Barack Obama?