Manny Pacquiao: Why Pac-Man Is a True Sports Hero and Icon

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  Boxer Manny Pacquiao speaks as Nike introduces new basketball and training technology at Basketball City, Pier 36 on February 22, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao is truly one of a kind.

At 33 years old, the Filipino boxer has done things in the ring that others could only dream of. As the first ever eight-division world champion, he's easily one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the history of the sport.

Once a flyweight fighter (108-112 pounds) he's defeated boxers as big as light middleweight (147-154 pounds) during his illustrious career.

His 54-3-2 record speaks for itself and his 14-fight win streak over the last seven years includes wins over every major star of his generation except one, Floyd Mayweather Jr., but that's of little blame on Pac-Man.

You could argue that Floyd's unblemished record is more impressive, but that is part of what makes Pacquiao so great...and a true sports hero.

He wasn't always brilliant and he still isn't without faults. He didn't start his career with expectations of dominating the sport. And he wasn't supposed a national hero.

But he was, and is, dominating the sport. He is a cultural icon in the Philippines. He's gone from a relative unknown to an international superstar who is not afraid to sing, is a likable out-of-ring personality with marketability and won political office twice in his home country.

All these things are part of the reason why Pacquiao is a true sports hero, but the one thing truly sets him apart is what he means to his fans.

Pacquiao inspires hope. He's someone people and fans look at as an inspiration for doing great things. He's used his platform as a world famous boxer not only to help himself, but to help and serve others as well.

People love sports for all different reasons, but it's not hard to see why people love Manny Pacquiao. 

He's not just one of the reasons we love sports, he's all the reasons we love sports.