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Manny Pacquiao : "For God, People, Nature, and Country"

This feature story was originally posted on on November 19, 2013

One of the most highly decorated boxers to ever lace up the gloves returns to the ring this weekend. The fighting pride of the Philippines, Manny “ Pac-Man” Pacquiao (54W-5L ,KO’s 38) is scheduled for a bout at welterweight on November 23, 2013, at the Venetian Macao resort & Hotel in Macao in China against The Ring ranked #6 Junior Welterweight Brandon “Bam-Bam" Ríos (31W-1L ,KO’s 23) for the WBO International welterweight title. This will be Pacquiao's first fight to be held in Macao , China . Will it be his last ? As Pacquiao is returning from a devastating knockout loss to his rival Juan Manuel Marquez back in December 2012. Both Pacquiao and Rios are coming off tough losses and have a great desire to return back to the ring and show the entire world what they can do. Most people feel if Pacquiao is the old Pacquiao he’ll win easily but, if he isn’t Rios will make Pacquiao and his entire camp regret taking this risky fight. So many opinions and theories of what will actually happen in the ring. The time for talking ends this Saturday as we find out once and for all who will be victorious.

The fight this Saturday in Macao, China maybe just another boxing event to most of us. Try and tell that to the millions & millions of people of the Philippines that live and die on every moment in the ring with their champion. Is it possible for the hopes of an entire nation to rest upon the shoulders of one man ? Yes! Absolutely. I had the honor and privilege to live in the Philippines back in 2009. I learned quickly what Manny Pacquiao meant to the Filipino people. Everything! The country literally shuts down when he fights. No commerce, no crime it's all brought to a complete halt. All eyes are watching Manny Pacquiao in the ring fighting with wreck-less abandon , helping his countrymen forget their problems even if only for a brief moment.

Filipinos have actually loved boxing for a long, long time. The love affair that Filipinos have with boxing goes back to when US servicemen introduced boxing to the Philippines during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most people assume that the surge and interest in great Filipino fighters on the global stage is new with fighters like Pacquiao and Donaire. When actually the Philippines have a long proud history in boxing that goes far beyond Pacquiao and Donaire. Fighters like Pancho Villa (91-8-4, 1919-1925) -- The first Filipino world champion, his win propelled the tiny nation onto the boxing landscape. Sadly, we never got to see the best of Villa, since he died at age 24 of blood poisoning. Villa packed 100 fights into only six years, and excited fans with a take-no-prisoners style similar to Pacquiao. Luisito Espinosa (47-13, 1984-2005) -- Also similar too Pacquiao, Espinosa made his name as a constant thorn in the side of Mexican boxers and their fans. The son of a boxer, he was one of 14 kids and began to box at age 7. At 5-foot-7 he was a very tall bantamweight, and he used his long reach well enough to make him equally effective at featherweight.

Also Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. (31-7-2, 1982-1995) -- Penalosa was an all-around boxer whose story outside the ring was just as inspiring as it was inside the ropes. Penalosa overcame the childhood disease of Polio, which made his left leg shorter than his right, to battle the world's elite in the ring. Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. is still in boxing as a trainer  as he even trained Nonito " Filipino Flash" Donaire briefly now Penalosa Sr. trains his sons who are top prospects carrying on the family tradition. Dodie Boy “Dugong-Kampeon" Penalosa, Jr.,(11W - 0L, KO's 11)  is also very eager to return to the ring like his idol Pacquiao on November 23rd at The Venetian Macao. Dobie Boy's nick name "Dugong-Kampeon" which means "blood of champion" is an extremely ferocious boxer with devastating power. Penalosa Jr. is definitely not your average prospect. He's is a rising star with unlimited potential and extreme focus. Already beloved by Filipino boxing fans across the world . Trust me on this one TRUs you can pull up Penalosa's KOs on You-Tube. Check them out and you'll see why the Filipino fan base is so excited about this young phenoms development.

Still with all the great history and with young hungry fighters on the horizon. No fighter has captured the hearts and imaginations of the Filipino people like Manny " Pac-Man" Pacquiao. The Philippines is trying to overcome a major natural disaster in Typhoon Haiyan. Many lives were lost as people lost everything. Major devastation scattered all across the proud nation. Manny Pacquiao believes the best way to bring inspiration and hope to the victims of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in his native Philippines is by putting on a world class performance in the ring. I agree. The question is can Pacquiao do it ? Can Manny rise up one more time and uplift his people ?

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