As a world-renowned Filipino boxer, congressman, singer, actor, philanthropist and basketball coach, Manny Pacquiao shares the reason for his fearless life
Manny, better known as Pacman in the ring, is the current WBO welterweight titleholder and first boxer in history to win ten world titles in eight different weight divisions – a worthy contender for the match of the year against controversial American boxer Floyd Mayweather.
As two of the world's greatest pound-for-pound fighters with ten world titles to each name, the rivalry between Manny and Floyd was fuelled back in 2009 when their match to battle it out for top spot was cancelled.
The six year wait until their May 2 fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas means it has smashed combat sports revenue records, with more than $400 million split 60-40 between the contracted parties of Floyd and Manny.
Manny has never been worried about facing the undefeated American champ who is statistically the most accurate boxer of all time.
When asked if he gets worried about losing a match, Manny told The Telegraph back in 2009, "I have no fear in my life, I don't fear losing. Why feel fear in your heart when you believe in God?"
The same can be said of Manny today, with his roots built up from a humble beginning and personal relationship with God, reminding him that win or lose, there are more important things in life.
Manny left his broken home at the age of 14 as his mother could no longer afford to support him and his five siblings. He lived on the streets of Manila before meeting the owner of a gym, Ben Delgado, who took a special interest in Manny and agreed to train him.
"He always had a big heart, in and out of the ring, and even back then, he wanted to be champion of the world," Ben says.
Manny was boxing professionally at 17 and earning $2 a fight, which he sent home to his mother.
As his success grew, Manny admits he strayed from God for many years, but never forgot the way his mother brought him up to understand the importance of faith in God.
He recently admitted on the Filipino TV show Tapatan ni Tunying that in 2010 his marriage to Jinkee was in trouble and it was trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ personally that saved his life and his marriage.
Manny recalls, "I was strongly drinking and gambling. I'm a womaniser. Always swearing." Their fighting was so serious that Jinkee once threatened him with a knife while he pulled out a gun.
That all changed when he trusted in Jesus as Lord and Saviour later that year. After that decision Manny says they rarely fight now.
"I'm happy because I found the right way to salvation," Manny told The Guardian in 2014.
"We are required to be born-again [of the spirit], all of us. Christ said unless we are born-again we cannot enter the kingdom of God. So it's very important to me. Jesus Christ said: 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me.' There is no other way. The only way is through Jesus."
Manny writes a daily devotional on his website, pacman.craveonline.com, and quotes Isaiah chapter 45 verse 5 which says, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no other God."
"While we thank the Lord for all His temporal gifts, we are not to depend on them, even slightly. Jesus Christ is our only need in life."
Although he is continually on the road for fights, training and publicity appearances, Manny is still faithful in attending church regularly.
He often wears a cross around his neck and is known to kneel and pray in his ringside corner before each fight and gives thanks to God when it is finished.
"Win or lose, I will pray at the corner to thank God for all his blessings," he says.
At a gathering he asked the crowd: "What about you, did you count your blessings? Remember to thank God for all that He has done. He will give you your needs."
Always remembering that his physical ability and wealth comes from God, he never turns the poor away when they come begging for money and food at his house.
"God has given me a gift and it is my duty to share the fruits of this gift with my people," he says.
Compassion for the people of the Philippines has led him on a new venture into politics and in 2010 he was elected into the House of Representatives.
Some might say that he earned his way to the top and deserves all the credit but Manny knows that his accomplishments were not from his strength alone and it is with that thought that he prepares to take on Floyd Mayweather in the ring.
"Before, my ultimate dream was just to be champion in the Philippines. But look at me now. This is because I lifted it all up to the Lord [in prayer]," he says.
"I don't want to say I'm the best boxer in the world. I would say I'm a boxer who can fight a good fight against any fighter in the world. All my talent comes from God." •