Boxer Manny Pacquiao’s love of the sport

Written by By Emily Gavin, CNN

CNN’s American tradition correspondent Oliver Darcy and senior reporter Arwa Damon spoke to boxer Manny Pacquiao about his passion for sport, his experiences in the ring and his part in working to bring attention to the fight against malaria.

What first made you decide you wanted to become a boxer?

I started boxing because I wanted to know my ancestors. My great-grandfather and my father are boxing champions from Thailand. They were on TV so it was obvious to me that I wanted to follow in their footsteps and be a champion.

I started training with the King Sugar Boys, a boxing club, from age eight. They were like my family, everyone in the club is all my cousins.

I was really good, I trained for 12 months and then I made my national team when I was 12. I made my boxing national team when I was 14.

In terms of training, I basically just work on my jab and all my movement. I don’t really have too many things in training. I’m very simple.

In what ways does boxing change your personality?

From childhood I was always into swimming, so I have a very calm style of swimming, so it’s kind of difficult to get me out of the water. It’s a very calm way of life, and my loving nature is very important when I’m in the ring.

How does being a champion help you stand up to critics?

I’m one of the strongest people out there. There’s always people saying what they’re thinking about me.

But to me they are just little words that people are expressing their emotions, and they don’t mean anything. They’re just words, and it’s my responsibility to tell them that they don’t mean anything.

What other achievements would you like to achieve, other than becoming a champion?

I’d like to win an Olympic medal, but I’ve won four Olympic medals, so that’s already achieved.

There are always challenges, and it’s hard, and at first I had a few battles with my man inside my head and family.

It’s hard for them to see me at my worst but they know I’m very selfless. That’s the one thing I know about myself, and I always support my family when they need me.

That’s what I’m known for. If they are good, I’m good. If they are bad, I’ll struggle.

What do you think inspired you to be such a community and family supporter?

I want to go into politics. That’s my future. I feel that I can change some things and make some people happy.

And I think that’s important — making everybody happy.

Does boxing give you confidence and will power?

One hundred percent. The best thing that boxing has ever given me is confidence, and self-esteem.

But most importantly, I have something to bring to my family when I’m gone.

You have been back to the boxing ring for ten years. What’s the best part about it?

The feeling you get when you’re winning. You win because of your heart, and everybody knows that you’re trying your best.

You always want to win, and sometimes you have to try hard for that, and sometimes you have to work very hard and you’re always motivated.

You’re basically chasing that special day, to go back into the ring. The feeling that you get is amazing.

It’s been ten years already, and you keep on going.

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