Jewish Journal

Manny Pacquiao is A Superstar, A Hero and My New Celebrity Crush

by Ilana Angel

November 14, 2010 | 1:05 am

Congressman Manny Pacquiao

I had no idea who this guy was last week.  I had heard his name, but could not have told you anything about him.  With all the hoopla about his fight this weekend, and having seen him sing the John Lennon classic “Imagine” on Jimmy Kimmel with Will Ferrell, I decided to do a little research.

Ferrell and Pacquiao’s Imagine Duet

I found out a lot about this man, namely that I love him.  Seriously, this guy rocks.  Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao was born in 1978 in the Philippines.  He is accomplished in ways I never would have imagined.  This man is a hero and I am so impressed with him that it’s now love.

His parents divorced when he was a kid, and he is one of six children.  He is married and has four kids of his own.  He is a devout Roman Catholic, lives in the Philippines, and has achieved things are simply super hero-esque.  If my kid wants to look up to an athlete, this is the guy.

Aside from being an 8 time world champion, he is also a member of Congress in the Philippines, as well as a military reservist for the Philippine Army, with the rank of Sergeant Major.  He dropped out of school at age 14 because his single mother could not afford to take care of all her children.

In 2007 he passed his GED, and was also presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities.  Then, when he was preparing to be a Congressman, got certified in Development, Legislation, and Governance.  Who is this man?  He is a mensch and really remarkable.

He is an amazing boxer, but I don’t really care about that part.  I’ve actually been to a few boxing matches and I totally dug it.  In fact, my own Rabbi is a boxing champion.  While I completely understand his boxing career is impressive, it is his life outside of the ring, that is inspiring.

I want him to live happily ever after.  He is charming, funny, smart, adorable, menschy, philanthropic and has overcome a lot to achieve remarkable things.  Anyone who is down on their luck and wondering if things will get better, needs to look at Manny’s journey.

I know I’m gushing, but here’s the thing:  I am a single mother raising a boy to be a man, and finding role models for him that he respects and does not think are lame, is sometimes hard.  This is a guy that both a mother and son can admire, and that does not happen often.

Congratulations to Manny Pacquiao on his win Saturday night.  He is a stellar athlete, and whether you are a boxing fan or not, this man is amazing.  A role model to kids all over the world, he has the ability to inspire them to never give up, and always keep the faith.

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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