With all the good boxing legend and Filipino congressman Manny Pacquiao has done for the world outside his sport, many have compared the star to former cycling legend Lance Armstrong and the lives he changed with the Livestrong campaign.
While there is no doubting the similarities between the positive impact made on people’s lives by these two men, Pacquiao is smart to disassociate himself with Armstrong in any way besides making the world a better place.
Armstrong was recently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for using performance-enhancing drugs (h/t New York Times), and the accusations against Pacquiao for doing the same (h/t TJ Manotoc of ABS-CBN News) have plagued the boxing champion for years.
With no hard evidence that Pacquiao has used PEDs at any point in his career, Manny and his camp have been smart to avoid all comparisons and association with the disgraced cyclist.
Pacquiao told USA Today Sports what he thinks about Armstrong and why Pac-Man himself never used PEDs:
When I think about (Armstrong) . . . that is why I never have used drugs like steroids for my career. Why use illegal drugs — steroids — and ruin your name? You can't be proud if you are using performance-enhancing (substances) when you're on top. It's kind of cheating the people and your opponent. You can be successful without using. If you use, you don't believe 100% in yourself.'
One of the biggest reasons Manny has remained an upper-echelon fighter as long as he has—besides the natural talent and ring I.Q.—is because of his unyielding confidence in his own skills.
If the boxing legend never did steroids, why shouldn’t he dissociate himself with a man that was found guilty for using PEDs?
Pacquiao isn’t just a fighter anymore; this man is an international hero.
With his home country looking at him as not just a boxing star, but a government employee fighting for change, he has taken on the role as the representative of the people. There is much more on the line for Pacquiao than a few endorsement deals.
Pac-Man’s work ethic has been notorious for being as intense as they come, yet there are still rumors that fly concerning the use of PEDs. Over 18 years in the sport have turned Pacquiao into a wise veteran, and he knows what it takes to win fights without any illegal aids.
Until someone proves something, Pacquiao—a man that has done more good for the world than most could dream of—deserves the benefit of the doubt and deserves to not be associated with Lance Armstrong in any negative way.