Manny Pacquiao is part of a CNN documentary which, in part, reports on the fighting congressman’s being sought as a powerful advocate to assist the efforts of Cecilia Flores-Obanda of the Visayan Forum Foundation toward eliminating child prostitution in their native Philippines.
A congressman in the Sarangani Province who is considered perhaps the most famous Filipino in the country’s history, Pacquiao is shown visiting one of Obanda’s shelters for the abused children, where he spoke to a group of young girls.
“We are working very hard on a law to protect all of you against human trafficking. You can count on me to help,” said Pacquiao. “I know how you feel. Thanks very much for allowing me to be part of your get together… Thank you. I hope to see you all again sometime in the future.”
Part I of the documentary will be replayed on CNN International on June 1, with Part II being aired on June 2 at various times throughout the world. Check your local listings for times in your area.
Once listed at No. 4 by Forbes.com among America’s Top 10 most influential athletes, Pacquiao actually met President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama during a private White House luncheon with his wife, Jinkee, in February of 2011.
“He’s an idol of many people because of his story,” said Flores-Obanda of Pacquiao in the report, which chronicles the efforts by her Visayan Forum Foundation against child sex slavery.
“I hope that he realizes that this may be the hardest or the toughest fight that he would wage in his entire life, because this fight goes beyond 12 rounds.”
Near the end of Part II, Pacquiao delivers a compelling speech on behalf of Obanda’s cause.
“I bring to you the good news in our fight against human trafficking. I am happy to tell you…that slowly but surely, we have turned the tide…as a nation, we are locked and loaded in fighting human trafficking. During my visit to the Visayan Forum safe houses, I talked to children as young as nine years old who are trafficked for prostitution,” said Pacquiao.
“In 2008, my good friend, Cecila Obanda, was recognized as a modern day hero by the United States of America (for) the Visayan Forum’s pioneering work in providing assistance to victims. I believe that we can end human trafficking in our lifetime. That challenge for us is to make this impact sustainable. We have won the last the last few rounds, I think that it’s time to deliver the knockout punch. We need to be true to our words and actions. We need to send a clear message that Filipinos are not for sale.”
A crossover star who was born into poverty, a young Pacquiao left a family that could no longer afford to feed him and spent homeless nights sleeping outside and days scrounging for food.
And since being elected to congressional office in the Sarangani Province of the Philippines in May of 2010, and, again, last month, Pacquiao’s politics and his love for his countrymen have threatened to drag him into retirement and out of boxing, according to his trainer, Freddie Roach.
“If we’re talking experience, my experience is deep and wide. That’s one of the reasons why my heart goes out to helping the poor,” said Pacquiao, during the report.
“The people have a lot of difficulties. I feel their pain, how much they need, because I came from there. When they cry for help, I understand, because back in the day, I experienced worse.”
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) has a welterweight fight with once-beaten junior welterweight contender Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) on Nov. 23 in Macau (Nov. 24 in China).
John Molina (25-2, 20 KOs), of Covina, Calif., and Russia’s Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KOs) will fight in a lightweight bout on June 7, at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash., on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
“As of right now everything in camp is the mindset that is purely on Klimov. I know him and I know sometimes fighters like Klimov go under the radar with the fans and television executives. Because he’s from Russia and not seen here in America often,” said Molina, 30
“But in beating him it will take a great performance from me, and I’m prepared to do just that. The fight plan is to go out there and look impressive. Control the fight. If it goes the distance, we’re ready. If a knock out comes, we’ll jump all over it.”
Klimov is equally motivated.
“I will not look for a knockout. I’m ready to go at the same pace for all 10 rounds, if it goes the distance,” said Klimov. “My ultimate goal would be to fight for the championship of the world. I never duck anybody and fight whoever is put in front of me and now it’s in my hands to beat Molina impressively so everyone knows who I am.”
“I’m a smart boxer puncher. I also can be a blood in guts type of fighter. I love to entertain,” said Ennis, 30. “I’m here and ready and willing to fight the best in the division to get a world title and Hanshaw has some impressive credentials for me to utilize to my advantage.”
Hanshaw is eager to prove Ennis wrong
“I’ve worked very hard to get back to this point and failure is not an option,” said Hanshaw, 35. “After I put the final nail in Farah’s casket, I’ll look for a shot at Andre Ward to concrete my name in boxing history.”
The co-feature will match local hero “Golden” Caleb Truax (21-1-1, 12 KO), of Osseo, Minn., against Chicago’s Don “Da Bomb” George (24-3-2, 21 KO) in an event being presented by Seconds Out Promotions and Warriors Boxing.
Also on the card is an eight-round crosstown clash between St Paul’s lightweights Jeremy “Lights Out” McLaurin (10-5, 5 KOs) and Tony “2Sharp” Lee (7-1, 3 KOs).
Also scheduled are junior middleweights “Sir” Charles Meier (7-2, 3 KOs) of Coon Rapids, Minn., and Tyler Hultin (5-1-2, 3 KOs), of Fergus Falls, Minn., as well as 154-pounders Gavin Quinn (1-0) of Circle Pines, Minn, and Kenneth Glenn (2-0, 1KOs), of Minneapolis.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]