Freddie Roach Talks About Manny Pacquiao's Unimaginably Tough Childhood

by James Slater - They say tough backgrounds make tough fighters. Well, current pound-for-pound king Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao is living proof that this is indeed true. We all know the Philippines, Manny's homeland, is a poor country, and in a recent interview with the UK's News Of The World paper, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach has been talking about some of the incredible hardships his fighter had to endure as he was growing up in General Santos City..

Roach revealed how things were once so bad for the Pacquiaos, Manny's father actually cooked and ate the family pet - their dog! Reportedly, this was the final straw for the 14-year-old future great, and he ran away from home shortly thereafter.

"Manny saw his dad eat his dog and that is why he ran away from home and became a boxer," Roach said. "The Philippines is a poor place, there's no welfare, no health system, and if you don't have a job or money then you do anything to survive. Manny arrived in Manila and ended up in a boxing gym. He lived on the street, where he bought doughnuts and then sold each one for a nickel to survive."

Now a very rich man and a fighter who is both admired and celebrated throughout the world, the 30-year-old dynamo has not let big money change him too much. Roach went on to say how Manny lives in a small apartment in LA, sharing it with a number of his best friends.

"He lives in an apartment in LA with fifteen other people," Roach said. "That's the way the Filipinos are. They're very clingy people and they like being around each other. He likes being around his friends and they love being around Manny. But his wife stays in a separate apartment downstairs because there's no messing around during training camp!"

One way his high earnings have changed Manny, though, is the way the big cash has made him ultra-generous. Now that he has a swollen bank balance, the boxing great is able to give money away - and this he does a lot, to the concern of Roach.

"He's too generous with his money," Freddie said. "I'm afraid he's going to give it all away some day and be broke and I warn him about that. When you're leaving Pacquiao's house there are always at least twenty people waiting outside for a handout. On good days he gives them money and on bad days he doesn't.

"At Christmas he has fund-raisers and he gives away a lot of food and money to his people. He's a very generous person, maybe too generous at times. He was born that way. At one time he couldn't give anything away, but now he's a richer man he tries to help the people who are poor because he was once in that position."

All this talk from Freddie makes one admire Pacquiao even more, yet it would indeed be a shame if he did wind up broke. Seemingly a great guy outside of the ring, it is only "Pac-Man's" opponents who see the nasty side of him.

Article posted on 15.03.2009

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