It’s no secret that Manny Pacquiao has sights beyond the realm of the ring.
In the Philippines, he is the biggest thing since Imelda’s famed shoe collection. His celebrity status in his home country is so far-reaching, he goes to Hollywood to “get away from it all."
A short ride through Manila will reveal billboard after billboard of the “people’s champ” pushing everything from beer to video games and everything in between.
His image graces half a dozen magazines at any one time.
He draws crowds that number in the thousands every time he steps in public.
He is larger than MJ when everyone wanted to "Be Like Mike."
Bigger than Becks in England. Greater than Gretzky in Edmonton.
Heck, he is bigger than Tiger, before and after the news of his "transgressions."
Pacquiao has starred in movies, released hit CDs, appeared on a postage stamp, and, for good measure, was on the cover of Time friggin' magazine.
Truth is, Pacman is so huge, he can nonchalantly apply for a seat in Congress in the same month that he signs on to fight for potentially the biggest purse in boxing history, and nobody blinks an eye.
After every major fight, Manny hands out money and food to people in his town. Literally, hands out money to people in the streets. Talk about winning over the people.
Inside the ring, he is a Hall of Fame lock—the first fighter to win titles in seven different weight divisions, knocking out legend after legend.
He is mega, all-universe huge.
At the same time, Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of the greatest fighters of his era, and owner of a perfect 40-0 record, is vilified in his own city.
He has tax troubles. He stopped talking to his own father for seven years.
Nobody doubts Mayweather’s fluid mastery of the "sweet science."
But nearly everyone questions his character.
He is the Terrell Owens of his sport.
From now until the eve of March 13, when Pacquiao gets in the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr., people will speculate on the outcome of this super-fight.
We’ll study every one of their previous fights. We’ll watch every episode of HBO’s 24/7 .
Analysts will break down training methods and sparring partners in each camp, and will look for clues to help predict a winner. We’ll hear everyone’s opinion from Sugar to Sugar Ray, Kellerman to Merchant.
Fight fans in bars from Boston to LA will argue their case over and over.
Manny over Floyd!
Pretty Boy over Pacman!
Roach over Roger!
Even casual fans will get in on the action, digesting the hype, choosing sides, and ultimately ordering the fight on Pay Per View.
It will be unlike anything boxing has seen in a long while.
But whether Manny Pacquiao actually beats Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13 is anyone’s guess.
We already know who won.