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WHY PACQUIAO WILL WIN (Boy from the ‘Hood Part One)

April 26, 2015, Queens, NY  He must win.  He will win.  Manny Pacquiao, the enigmatic, dynamo from a nation of millions (90 million to be more precise) called the Philippines will defeat Floyd Mayweather by hook or crook, knockout, tko, or decision.  But, he will win.

Mayweather is considered the best boxer on the planet, pound-for-pound.  However, this is a fight that he doesn’t want.  He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the alter.  The fight is reminiscent of a “shotgun wedding.”  Pacquiao agreed to all the terms and even then some.  He accepted to be the “B” side even though the overwhelming number of pay-per-view buyers will be rooting for him.  He acquiesced to strict drug testing.  Everything Mayweather asked for, he got.  Mayweather chose the date and site.  He probably had a hand in the picking of the referee, Kenny Bayless. who lives in Vegas, like Mayweather.  I guess what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Pacquiao wins because he wants the fight.  Wants it more than Mayweather.  Pacquiao wins because his ‘hood is tougher than Floyd’s.  The ghetto of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is not the ghetto of General Santos City, Philippines.  Now that’s ‘hood.  Children go to work at six years old to help put food on the table.  School?  Are you kidding?  Public assistance?  A crack house would be a mansion.  If you don’t believe, Google it.  Pacquiao’s mother, Dionesia, would wake up her six children at 4:00 a.m. and tell them to pray for food.  Maybe we’ll be lucky and eat by tomorrow.  She would tell her hungry “brood,” to drink water.  Imagine that, Drink Water.

Manny smiles a lot, talks about his Lord and Savior, but don’t get it twisted, he had a hard life coming up.  He began fighting as a pre-teen.  His father wasn’t a former professional fighter.  It wasn’t about him going to the Olympics.  He fought to put food on his table.  Not steak, not caviar, not filet mignon.  Bread.  A carrot.  A banana.  He fought and won. At 14, he got in a boat headed for Manila to fight for a better life.  He couldn’t even speak the language of the capital city.  Manny had no money.  He went to the famed El Lorde boxing gym.  He was virtually ignored.  He watered the plants.  He cleaned the floors.  He emptied the garbage.  Probably ate some of it.  Hunger will do that to you.

Pacquiao started winning.  His fights were televised.  One night he was on the same card as his best friend.  His best friend fought right before he was scheduled to fight.  His friend got carried out the ring.  He was taken back to the dressing room.  Manny attempted to revive his friend.  His friend died.  Then, Manny went out to fight.  His friend lay dead.  Manny  went out to fight.  He won.  He won more than the fight.

Pacquiao wins because of the intangibles.  Heart.  Determination.  Despair.  He’ll make at least $80 million.  But he will always be a boy from the barrio.  He will always be a boy from the mean streets.  He will always be a boy from the ‘hood.

Professor Clifford Benton can be reached at cliffb@puresportsny.com.

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