Manny Pacquiao feels he must be a visible presence, particularly for poor Filipino people, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pacquiao, a senator in his native Philippines, told the Manila Bulletin on Saturday that “he’s not afraid to die” while trying to help people. Pacquiao expressed concern, too, that looting will take place if people “living in the streets” aren’t fed.
Pacquiao has made numerous public appearances and has tried to reassure residents fearful of COVID-19 spreading even more.
He has been very vocal in his support of medical personnel testing and treating Filipinos as well. To assist their cause, he has donated five buses to transport healthcare workers around Manila, the capital and second-most-populated city in the Philippines.
“If you are a leader, you have to be a front-liner,” Pacquiao said, according to the Manila Bulletin. “You have to lead people and let people see that you are with them. I grew up poor. I know what they feel.”
Pacquiao also said he is awaiting shipments of 50,000 coronavirus testing kits and medical masks from China to help combat this pandemic.
The scary situation also has indefinitely delayed Pacquiao’s return to the ring. The 41-year-old Pacquiao had hoped to fight sometime in July, but he might not compete until later than that because the boxing business basically has been shut down until further notice.
There are only short time frames within which Pacquiao can box each year based on the senate schedule in the Philippines. Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t fought since he defeated previously unbeaten Keith Thurman to win the WBA “super” welterweight title July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The southpaw superstar dropped Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) in the first round of that bout and won a 12-round split decision in that FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event.
Former four-division champion Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs), ex-two-division champ Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), former welterweight champ Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 29 KOs) and IBF/WBC welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) are considered potential opponents for Pacquiao’s next fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.