Welterweight boxer and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao regained his championship this past weekend in Las Vegas, an impressive unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand. Whether or not the victory was a fair call by the judges is open to interpretation, but so it goes in the "sweet science."
Even more impressive than the win was the size of Pacquiao's entourage. Most say they've never seen anything like it in a town that's used to seeing throngs of hangers-on. Let's start with the 35 or so people who are paid to fill Acquit's every need. There are security guys, chefs, trainers, assistant trainers, drivers and, of course, people to wash the cars they drive, gofers, and publicists. There are advisers, confidants, some close family and friends.
Chris Williams of Boxingnews24.com said Pacquiao's trainer in the States, Freddie Roach, was mortified when he went to the boxer's place less than two weeks out from the fight to find an absolute convention.
Here's a quote from Roach contained in the article. "I was at Manny's house the other night and I saw no less than 35 people there with Manny, dining with him and I guess several of them live there with him," Roach said to Phil Boxing. "I don't know any of them. That, of course, is taboo to one preparing for a fight, a very important fight that might spell the difference between continuing his career or hanging his gloves altogether."
Pacquiao brought a full-sized busload of people to the fight - tickets paid for by the boxer. At least 200 of them. It would be easy to criticize Pacquiao's behavior as being foolish and over-the-top. That is, until you play the flip side of the record.
Pacquiao returns home to the Philippines gladly and freely passing out money, clothing and other necessities to his fellow countrymen in need. That's because he is a man of the people…really.
Did you know Pacquiao is also an elected member of the House of Congress in the Philippines, serving his second term after being reelected last year? Yes. He represents the province of Sarangani. He has interests in music and acting, as well. He gives of himself, deeply and often, because he sees himself - but for the Grace of God and his boxing skills - being among the number he himself helps along the way.
The point is, if Pacquiao wants to give it away, so be it. Nobody I know of is ripping the guy off. He is giving of his free will. And, as they say, it's better to give than to receive. Good for him if it makes him happy.