Manny Pacquiao: The Event That Changed His Life Forever

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Today is May 1st and marks the first day of Asian Pacific American Heritage month.

All month long KTLA celebrates the cultures, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by high-lighting our very own L.A. Dreamers.

Pound-for-pound … Manny ‘Pac Man’ Pacquiao is considered one of the greatest boxers ever.

This dreamer might be nicknamed “the fighting pride of the Philippines” … but Pacquaio’s fan base crosses all borders.

“Manny is fearless and he’ll fight anyone. It’s so fun to watch him,” said Jeremy Piven.

Before Pacquiao’s punches turned him into a cultural icon, a young Manny was trying to find his fighting spirit among the streets of Kibawe – a small town in the Philippines.

At 14, Manny moved out of his childhood home because his mother could not afford to support the family.

Pacquiao’s pro boxing path began in 1995 when he stepped into the ring – at just sixteen years old – and defeated Edmund Ignacio.

Under the coaching of training legend Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s golden gloves racked up the victories, including wins over Oscar de la Hoya and ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley.

Last year, the eight division world champion ranked # 2 on Forbes’ list of the highest paid athletes – just behind his rival in the ring, Floyd Mayweather – earning $62 million a year.

Today, with a home in both Los Angeles and the Philippines, the father of four and devout catholic continues to be a symbol of pride and hope for many.

“I give him thanks for everything he given to me,” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao’s impressive boxing record consists of sixty one fights, fifty four of those wins — thirty eight victories by knockout.

Continuing our celebration tomorrow’s L.A. Dreamer – Aids research pioneer Flossie Wong Stall.

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