In his real job, Manny Pacquiao needs blood lust and a killer instinct. It has served the world’s greatest boxer well in 59 fights. But outside the ring, the boxer — with the Bieber-esque moptop — has an ability to croon romantic ballads that’s just as deadly. On Jimmy Kimmel’s show, he teamed with Will Ferrell for a soaring “Imagine” — and his rendition of “Sometimes When We Touch” makes the sentimental downright swoonworthy.
It’s unlikely for a man with ferocious fists to know his way around a love song. But even hotter? Pacquiao has a humanitarian side that hasn’t been seen in any boxer since Muhammad Ali. In his native Philippines, Pacquiao is considered the greatest national icon in the world (beating out Nelson Mandela, including all others). That might be national pride talking, but Pacquiao — elected to the Filipino Congress in 2010 on his second try — has quickly built a humanitarian record that’s every bit as impressive as his collection of championship belts.
He’s used his platform to push for good works; instead of bad-mouthing opponents in the run-up to a fight, he urges the audience to wear yellow to call attention to the fight against global poverty. When he gets an audience with Sen. Harry Reid before a fight, he uses it to lobby for a bill that would help the garment industry, and in turn, his fellow countrymen. At home in Congress, he’s taken on typhoon relief, improving medical conditions and raising literacy rates. What he can’t achieve politically, Pacquiao handles himself, donating millions to improve living conditions in his poverty-stricken nation.
It’s one thing to be humble and universally adored. It’s something else to put all that personal magnetism on the line to do something more than sell sneakers or collect endorsements. And these days, nothing makes you look good like doing good.