Pacquiao welcomes news that Horn is training hard: 'That means he'll give me a good fight'
Manny Pacquiao arrives at the MOA Arena on Friday night to watch the ONE title defense of Eduard Folayang from ringside. Jaime Campos

ONE of the many reasons that endeared Manny Pacquiao to sports fans worldwideis his humility. You'll never hear him speak ill of anybody, not even guys who he beat or is about to beat.

Pacquiao never promised to kick the butt of any man atop the ring, never responds to taunt. He simply steps inside the ring and gives the other fellow a lesson in humility.

“He’snever raised his voice, not once,” his wife Jinkee swore. “I’ve never even heard him say  P….. i...”

It is no different in the buildup for his fight against unheralded Australian Jeff Horn on July 2 in the latter's hometown of Brisbane where the Filipino ring icon's World Boxing Organization welterweight title will be on the line..

Instead of gloating on this perceived advantage, you’d think he’s the one challenging the champ, not the other way around.

“What do you mean Horn would be easy picking? He’s young, yes, but he has a perfect record in his resume,” Pacquiao said in an interview before a game between his Mahindra team and San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“Alam na naman natin na sa boksing, anybody who won 16 of his 17 fights, 11 of them by KOs, is, certainly not a lemon," the three-time Fighter of the Year honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America said. “Kaya nga kailangan paghandaan pa ring mabuti ang laban. “

“Besides, he’s my No. 2 contender at hindi niya mararating ang ganung ranggo if he’s not good as a boxer, ” he added.

Asked about claims by the Horn camp that his best days are behind him, the only man to win 11 world titles in eight weight divisions retorted: “If that will make them happy, so be it. Huwag  na nating guluhin ang isip natin sa mga salitang yun. Totoo namang may edad na tayo, so bakit ako magagalit. Kung tutoo mang laos na ako, hindi ako dapat magalit. Sa ibabaw ng ring natin malalaman 'yan.”

“I have been in boxing for more than two decades and I always welcome those kind of statements and comments because, for one, they sell tickets which is good for the promotion. Para dumami ang manonood ng laban,” the two-term congressman and now senator said.

“I also welcome reports that he’s been training hard. That’s good news because it means he’ll be giving me a good fight. Ibig sabihin din mapapaligaya naming dalawa ang mga manonood,” Pacquiao added. “Ang masasabi ko lang sa kanya, continue training because only by giving a good fight could he succeed in gaining the respect he has been seeking.”   

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“Iyon naman talaga ang dapat na tungkulin naming mga boksingero. That’s exactly what boxing is all about. That’s exactly what professional sport is all about. To make people happy,” the father of five added.

“As for me, and as I said in my previous fights, rest assured that I will do the very best I can to prepare myself and give boxing fans what they expect of me,” Pacquiao vowed.       

Pacquiao pointed out that while boxing made him what he is now, it is making people happy that brings him pure joy. That explains why he has dedicated all his life in making people, especially the poor and downtrodden, happy and forget the problems confronting them.

“This also the reason why I am in the government service. Paligayahin ang mga tao, ang mga kababayan natin sa pamamagitan ng pagsisilbi sa kanila. Government officials are public servants. We’re not our people’s bosses,” he stressed.

“Noon, sa boksing ko lamang napagsisilbihan ang fans, di lamang dito sa ating bansa kundi maging sa buong mundo,” he added. “ As a public servant, mas napasasalamatan ko na ang mga kababayan natin ng higit pa sa suportang patuloy na ibinibigay niya sa akin at maging sa aking pamilya sa loob nang mahigit dalawang dekadang pagiging boksingero ko.”

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