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How Manny Pacquiao can really have an impact after boxing

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SAN FRANCISCO—The post-boxing Manny Pacquiao story, we all hope, will turn out to be an uplifting tale, one that would build on his incredible success as an international icon.

And his recent attempt to reinvent himself is a good sign.

“I am no longer in the vice business. I’ve sold my shares in a big nightclub along with my shares in a Manila casino outlet,” he told reporters. “I do realize I was a weak person before. If I had died the other year, I believe my soul would have ended in hell.”

So many great athletes eventually found themselves trapped in a quagmire of booze, drugs and a self-destructive lifestyle. Pacquiao has now acknowledged that risk.

He won’t be in boxing forever. He’s young, rich and famous. He can do so much more.

As I’ve noted in past columns, I think his decision to enter politics was a bad choice. And I also feel the same way about his decision to become an “ambassador” of the Catholic Church.

Pacquiao may be limiting his post-boxing potential by aligning himself with two powerful, but flawed, institutions – the Philippine Congress and the Catholic hierarchy.

It’s already clear that he’s an odd fit in the House of Representatives. In explaining his positions on say, the reproductive health debate, he has come across as awkward, even inarticulate. Certainly, he is also surrounded by other politicians who are probably even less articulate and coherent.

But clearly, as a congressman, Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest boxers in history, has been mediocre. He doesn’t stand out the way he did as a sports hero.

It’s not because he’s not smart. Certainly, it takes more than brawn to rise from a flyweight to a super welterweight champion, beating such boxing greats as Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley.

Pacquiao is considered one of the smartest fighters in history. He should also play it smart in mapping out his post-boxing career.

And to do this, I’d argue, he needs to play to his strengths. And a big part of that strength is his own physical strength –  and how he attained it against enormous odds..

So here’s one wild idea — one that I think speaks to Pacquiao’s apparent business ambitions and his desire to make a difference.

Why not start a chain of high-end gyms and physical fitness centers catering to the middle class and even upper class customers in the Philippines. He may even expand to the rest of Asia and the United States where he is well-known, even beloved.

He could then use proceeds from that enterprise to open a network of community gyms and fitness centers in working class and poor neighborhoods throughout the Philippines.

Imagine Manny Pacquiao as an advocate for physical fitness and clean living.

What a powerful message he could send to young Filipinos, particularly those from struggling families and communities throughout the archipelago, on the virtues of keeping healthy, and the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking and drugs.

“Iwas kayo sa yosi, toma at droga. Oo, mahirap ang buhay. Pero kung kinaya ko, kaya ninyo rin. .. Life is tough now, but it doesn’t mean you have to destroy yourselves with these vices.”

A photo that circulated on Facebook recently actually gave me this idea: it shows a younger skinny Pacquiao training, doing sit ups.

Can you imagine the kind of discipline and determination the young struggling, impoverished Pacquiao needed to develop his own body and boxing abilities to the point of being able to take on the world’s best fighters?

Pacquiao could eventually become a promoter and train a new generation of great Filipino boxers. But more importantly, he could show young Filipinos that, even if you don’t become a rich boxing icon, being fit and healthy is an ideal goal.

That’s the important lesson he could teach young Filipinos, especially those who cannot afford to become members of fancy gyms and fitness centers.

And he could accomplish this as an independent entrepreneur, an internationally-known Filipino celebrity who sees no need to be tied to any specific institution or arena where he would just be another insignificant, even mediocre, player.

On Twitter @KuwentoPimentel. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/benjamin.pimentel


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  • Anonymous

    mas malaki ang INCOME ng isang pastor….

  • Anonymous

    Hinihiling ko lang na sana ay hindi na siya makihalobilo sa mga magnanakaw na pulitiko ng Pilipinas. Kung hindi niya magagawa ito, kahit na anong yaman niya, matututo din siyang magnakaw sa kabang-yaman ng Pilipinas. Malakas ang impluwensya ng kasamaan kaysa kabutihan sa lahat ng lugar lalong-lalo na sa Pilipinas. Sa pagiging Ambasador niya ng katolikong simbahan, sana ay matulungan din niya ang simbahang katoliko na maalis ang mga abusadong Pare sa loob ng simbahan upang bumalik ang mga taong nawalan ng tiwala at paggalang sa simbahang katoliko.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TZXNCQSIM53RG6UH67ZF6FN6UQ Rene

    This article by Mr. Benjamin Pimental does say A LOT OF SENSE.

    Sana na lang, mabasa ito ni Manny.

  • Anonymous

    There are chains of gyms and physical fitness centers. 

    What could be differentiating and something to test out would be…A chain of swimming pools in the urban areas.

  • john san mateo

    Nice!

  • Anonymous

    Pacquiao’s decision to be a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ brought about by Bible study, to me is the most important decision he had ever made. After all that is all that matter in this present life which will have an eternal impact to the next – indeed so important a decision whose benefits will far outweigh all that he ever accomplished as of now, both fame and wealth.
     
    As the Lord Jesus said “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
     
    Manny’s wealth is more than enough for him to live thru this life and will even have some left for his posterity, so why spend the rest of your life chasing after the wind?
     
    It could be for this very reason that God blessed him and made him famous so that he can give glory to God the Father by acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
     
    I just pray that he would continue reading and studying the word of God and will hold firmly to its teaching without giving in to the deceitful scheming of organized religions.
     
    The Holy Scripture contains the following admonitions which I hope Pacquiao himself and readers would take note of:
     
    “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
     
    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”

  • valsore

    Yes.  Leave institutions and politics.  They will just consume you and leave you with mediocre performance that does not match your reputation on the ring.  Be a modern-day sports entrepreneur.  Hire top notch management talent you can trust completely.There are a lot of latent under developed sports talent in Philippines — baseball, soccer, chess, and of course, boxing. Focus on the natural talent that God has given you, boxing.  Build on it and expand to other things later.



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