By Jackie Kallen
Like many boxing fans, I usually name Manny Pacquaio as my pound-for-pound favorite fighter. That goes for outside the ring as well as in. Besides being amazingly talented, he is kind, intelligent, and truly cares about his fans and the world we live in.
Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
When Manny is in LA, training at the Wild Card Gym, there are always people lined up in the parking lot and on the sidewalk waiting to catch a glimpse of their idol. Even after a fierce day of training and sparring, I have seen him sign each and every autograph and pose for every single photo.
Not everyone knows, though, how philanthropic and civic-minded he is. It goes way beyond fan accessibility and his duties as congressman in his home district of Sarangani.
Manny is involved in a major poverty alleviation project in the Philippines with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The program launched earlier this month and is close to Pacquaio’s heart.
To kick it off, Manny spent an afternoon reading to an audience of 50 elementary school students. He urged them to study hard and embrace reading. He was patient and animated as he read from the book “Dado,” about a Muslim villager who learns farming in a Christian community.These children were mostly from the B’Lean Tribe, the group who will benefit the most from the anti-poverty program.
Win or lose in the ring–Manny is the ultimate definition of the word WINNER.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen