Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao's one rule about time is "don't waste it"

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2015, 11:35am

For Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, becoming a professional boxer was only a matter of time. "Boxing is my passion," says the Filipino fighter widely known as "Pacman". "That's been my life, since I was young."

Pacquiao, the fourth of six children from General Santos City in the southern Philippines, started boxing as a way to escape poverty. "In our place, we had Sunday boxing every week, so my friends and I joined there and we would fight. I was 12 years old when I started," he says. "What I liked about my first fight was that I earned money, 50 pesos [about HK$9 today]. I never thought I would be a boxer. I just did it to earn money, to buy food or things I needed for school."

Soon enough, Pacquiao was winning fight after fight. "When I kept winning, I started to put in my mind that I can be a boxer. So that was the beginning," he says.

It was the beginning, it turns out, of one of the most successful careers in boxing history. From his 1995 professional debut in the light flyweight division to his widespread rating as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, through to his surprise sixth-round knockout last year at the hands of Juan Manuel Márquez in a non-title welterweight bout, Pacquiao has won 10 world titles and become the only boxer to win world championships in eight different weight divisions.

He is a three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America's Fighter of the Decade for the 2000s, having enjoyed a seven-year, 15-bout winning streak that ended on June 9, 2012.

He is also one of sport's richest, running second to fellow boxer Floyd Mayweather in Forbes' list of the 100 highest-paid athletes from June 2011 to 2012.

Pacquiao's success in the ring has also led to a colourful entertainment and political career that includes acting roles in a number of Filipino films, singing performances on American late-night TV, and appearances in boxing video games.

But the devout Christian is now focused on his next bout - the Clash in Cotai, a 12-round welterweight showdown with American up-and-comer Brandon Rios, on November 24 at the Venetian Macao - and his role as the lone congressional representative from the Philippines' Sarangani province.

"It's time management," says the father of four, who was re-elected, unopposed, to a second term earlier this year. "I gave up music and acting because I don't have time for other things when I'm busy with public service and boxing."

Pacquiao's one rule about time is "don't waste it". If he's training for a bout, he'll keep a disciplined schedule that includes seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If he's busy tending to his constituents, extensive charitable efforts or family obligations, he can get by on three hours or less.

While the 34-year-old carries the expectations of an entire nation to the Rios fight, Pacquiao is already looking ahead to his "other career" as a public servant. "It's not that hard," he says, "but it's a lot of work."