Pacquiao has served as an inspiration to citizens of his native Phillipines, as well as an icon for AAPI sports fans in the United States and around the world. Once lauded as standing at the pinnacle of the sport, Pacquiao was heralded as a defiance of the stereotypes that plague Asian and AAPI men. Pacquiao’s ring personality is the very antithesis of those stereotypes: he is brash, aggressive, unpredictable and ferocious, but not always the smartest fighter. Cementing his status as a beloved Filipino icon, Pacquiao has pursued activities focused on political and economic uplift for Filipino people: he is a movie star, a musician, philanthropist and member of the Phillipines’ House of Representatives.
But, perhaps the most exciting aspect of Pacquiao’s career has been the consequences of his team-up with fight promoter Bob Arum. For decades, boxing had progressed by simply ignoring the economies of countries making up nearly half the world. The committed collaboration between Pacquiao and Arum to open the Asian market to the sport of boxing has single-handedly created the Pacific’s now busy boxing hub of Macau, China. In recent years, for example, Pacquiao has eschewed fighting in America and has used his boxing fame and status at the top of the sport to force opponents to fight him in Macau (and to accompany him on lengthy Asian promotional tours preceding the fight), which has brought much-needed international revenue to struggling Pacific economies and has focused greater attention in the sport on Asian fighters. These successful efforts have ushered in the new era of the Asian and Asian American boxer, which includes names such as Zou Shimeng, mixed race Korean-Kazahkstani Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, and the now-retired Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire.
This fight has been nearly a decade in the making. On May 2nd, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. will square off against Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao to determine once and for all which fighter is boxing’s undisputed champion.
For the casual boxing fans among you, this post will break down Saturday’s epic war: what’s happening, why it matters, and — of course — who I think is going to win.
What more does the fight of the century need? An epic, 80’s style power ballad sung in Tagalog by a nation’s hero, of course.
Sometime last month, Manny Pacquiao recorded this song — “Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino” / “I Will Fight For The Filipinos” — and the official music video was uploaded to YouTube just over ten days ago.
I’m not usually a huge sports fan — I’m one of the few Asian American bloggers who didn’t weight in on Linsanity (or Linsanity, part 2) because I don’t watch basketball. But, I make an exception for boxing, which I’ve been into for a few years. Those of you who are boxing fans (and perhaps all of you who are Filipino/Filipino-American, whether or not you watch boxing) are aware that this weekend is a big date in boxing: Manny Pacquiao, a major athletic figure turned Filipino congressman, is scheduled to stage a comeback this Saturday.