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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pacquiao touches a special life

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This was an experience that this writer will never forget. While covering Manny Pacquiao's training camp from the Wild Card Gym, I was fortunate enough to have witnessed many great things. One special moment that I will never forget was when we were exiting the restaurant on Saturday. Manny as most people know has a hard time telling his fans, "No" so he needs others to say it for him.

Pacquiao's time is so in demand that somewhere along the way someone will not get to have his ear. It's impossible for Manny to grant every wish that every fan or business wants. I was invited to dinner by Manny and was sitting right next to him when I heard one of his assistants say, " Manny there isn't enough time for you to take photos with every fan outside." Pacquiao trains close to 5 hours a day. His time is limited. So when his assistant told him this, Manny looked up and seemed bothered by what he had heard. He just doesn't like for a fan to miss out.

Check out more on Pacquiao's training and work ethic here -

Manny was eating his dinner and signing autographs at the same time. It was amazing to see what Manny deals with. He would sign 20 gloves, then eat, sign a shirt, then eat, sign a sneaker, then eat. Manny looked over at me and said, "Brad Cooney, this is my life." After some time went by, we concluded dinner and it was time to go.

As we exited the restaurant there were a few hundred fans outside in the parking lot. Manny was making his way toward his car and he was immediately surrounded by his fans. Rob Peters (Pacquiao's bodyguard) was doing a good job paving the way and making a path through the fans so that Manny could get to the car. Then the moment happened. There was a Filipino fan in a wheelchair looking up at Manny. The fan had Cerebal Palsy. He had a huge smile on his face, and his eyes were lit up like a Christmas tree. Manny looked at him, and without hesitation walked up to this fan and wrapped his arm around him. Manny had his hands on the fan's shoulder and posed for a few pictures with him. The fan was elated! His family had tears in their eyes. The crowd began to chant, "MANNY, MANNY, MANNY, MANNY!" It was a moment that this writer will never forget.

Pacquiao shows why he is such a role model to the world. Not only is he a champion inside of the ring, but he is a champion outside of the ring as well. His fans in my state of Mississippi like him for his success in and outside of the ring. Mississippians are very spiritual people. The deep south is the Bible belt. Pacquiao's belief in God has touched many of his fans in Mississippi.

Check out Pacquiao training footage -


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