The Guardian

Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao enters Philippine political ring

Manny Pacquiao is used to the frenzy. Tens of thousands of fans bob and throng feverishly in front of the stage in the heavy, sticky heat of a tropical night. Young and old, rural and urban, devout and secular: all are eager for a glimpse of the man who is undeniably the Philippines’ most famous sporting hero.

For a man who is a boxing phenomenon, it is a familiar scene. Pacquiao is used to punishing opponents in front of crowds like this. Only on this occasion, he is turned out not in his trademark red flame-emblazoned white shorts and robe but in jeans and an orange shirt.

A natural entertainer, he cradles a guitar and shows off another string to his bow: a singsong-like baritone that belts out a campaign tune.

“I would not be where I am today without you, and now I want to help the Philippines,” he declares, warming to his theme. “What is important is my relationship to God and to the Filipino people.”

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Published on April 27, 2010

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