MANNY Pacquiao is speaking so softly he’s almost inaudible but the onversation is about strippers and casinos and wild sex so the radar immediately goes on full alert.BRUTAL PUNISHMENT: Pacman hurts best friend every dayJOURNO V PACMAN: being punched by a legendLong after he was taught to throw a left and right, Pacquiao found a wife who taught him right from wrong.He credits long-suffering spouse Jinkee for turning his whole life and soul around.The reputation of the world welterweight champion these days borders on religious reverence in the Philippines. He is outwardly a modest, humble, almost saintly father of five who has made more than $500 million from boxing.
Manny Pacquiao has quite the colourful past.
Once a former barefoot and dirty street kid, he became one of history’s greatest boxers as well as a senator and earned so much money he built 1000 homes in the Philippines from his own pocket to help the poor.He drinks nothing stronger than water these days but Pacquiao used to be an entirely different beast and his story of redemption is as compelling as the tale of the homeless street kid who scrapped his way through life’s briars to become a sporting icon.I suggest to Pacquiao that he enjoyed a drink once.“Once,’’ he says rolling his eyes.“More than once. Much more. I used to be drinking every night.’’Pacquiao, who defends his world welterweight title against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium on July 2, was once an uncontrollable wild man — reckless, feckless, and dangerous to know. A multi-millionaire by his late 20s, he was a casino owner and he ran a strip club employing 100 girls.
He was unfaithful to his wife, Jinkee, many times and while he is now a member of the Philippines government advocating the death penalty for drug dealers, he once used cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Manny Pacquiao prepares for his next bout against Jeff Horn.
But he says while he would often neglect his family to go out smoking, gambling and womanising, he now attends Bible readings every day with Jinkee, who has encouraged the enormous transformation of his life.
Pacquiao has a staff of 100 in the Philippines and one of the men closest to him is David Sisson, a 25-year-old son of American missionaries who have preached the gospel in Pacquiao’s hometown of General Santos City for more than two decades.“Manny was a wild guy, really crazy,’’ the young Baptist says.“I’ve known him since I was eight years old. He grew up a Catholic but he and his wife Jinkee had a lot of problems in their marriage.“It’s amazing to see how Manny went from that lifestyle to what he has now as a devoted family man and a well-respected senator.“The days of partying and drinking are over.’’Pacquiao’s fame and generosity are the stuff of legend. It is not uncommon for him to spend $30,000 on a dinner for his staff or to press wads of cash — or a newly constructed house — into the hands of the needy.
Manny Pacquiao hit the pads with News Corp journalist Jamie Pandaram.
Sisson claims Pacquiao’s decision to build 1000 houses for the poor showed the purity of heart in a man who spent much of his life off the rails.Pacquiao is freely touted as a future president of country in which he is adored.But he is living proof that money can’t buy happiness.Jinkee Pacquiao was contemplating divorce in 2011.Before his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez that year, husband and wife were involved in a fierce argument that threatened to send them apart forever. After beating Marquez, Pacquiao had what he calls “a spiritual reawakening’’ and became a non-denominational Christian. He said he experienced dreams and visions and heard the voice of God so powerful that he felt he was trembling and melting and that he had died and was born again.“I’m happy because I found the right way, salvation, born again,’’ he said.
Plenty of onlookers have come out to see Manny Pacquiao train.
In the last six years Jinkee has helped her husband become not just a better fighter but a better man.Sisson says Pacquiao “fell to his knees to ask the Lord to save him and forgive him and he has made a 180 degree change in his life since then.’’Pacquiao announced that he was giving up extramarital affairs, gambling, smoking, cockfighting and coke-snorting in order to his save his marriage.The couple took a second honeymoon in May 2012 and their family has prospered even if Pacquiao has not shown the same ferocity in the ring as he did before finding his religion.Pacquiao and Jinkee were arm in arm when they visited Australia in the last week of April to promote the Horn fight.