When I hear the name Manny Pacquiao, a lot of things come to mind. Greatness, talent, speed, power, poverty, hustle and respect. However, when the critics hear the eight-division world champion's name, they think of cheating, steroids, catch-weight king and many other names and accusations.
There's one thing I know that can relate to some critics, and it involves the word "cheating." Manny Pacquiao was a cheater.
How? Do you want to know the secret, how he gained all the weight for his fights? The Pacman used to cheat back in the day at the weigh-ins by putting weights in his pockets to make the weight required. That's as close as Pacquiao has ever come to cheating. Being only 98 pounds, Manny had a fast metabolism and poor nutrition. He was too skinny to fight at 105 pounds, but never too small to fight bigger men.
Pacquiao was born to fight bigger warriors. He has proved to the world that with faith and a golden heart you can do anything and be crowned one day. He motivates the world in a good way and I don't see how a boxing fan can disrespect him. Saying that Pacquiao is on steroids is like saying Superman was able to fly because he used to drink Red Bull.
It doesn't make sense, however, it's a natural thing to blame the successful athlete or person. We have all had a moment where we blame someone and accuse them of cheating. I used to be extremely good at dominoes in middle school and people used to accuse me of cheating all the time. Although I did cheat once, I still lost that game.
My point is people accuse the best of cheating all the time. We all have done it—just how you used to blame the guy who won the Monopoly game or beat you at Fight Night Round 4.
If you are a Pacquiao critic who likes to verbally attack champions for no reason, you were probably getting your popcorn and preparing to hear another good accusation to add to your list. But I'm positive that I either ruined your day or made you think a little differently. I'm not disrespecting any critics—every fighter has a critic—but only a few have a crown.
People often mistake confidence with steroids; they don't understand that confidence can be stronger than steroids. Manny Pacquiao's only steroid is his golden heart. The same heart that experienced poverty, violence, failure and doubt. People used to spit fire at Pacquiao growing up, but Manny was smart enough to collect that fire and use it to burn his doubters and prove them wrong.
Although the Pacman is extremely successful, it doesn't mean he is on steroids. Pacquiao just has the perfect team with a perfect conditioning trainer, Alex Ariza.
Alex Ariza is a genius and one of the best conditioning trainers out there; he could probably make Chris Rock a track star if he trained him.
If you still think Manny Pacquiao is on steroids you should probably come up with better accusations. The majority of accusations I've heard do not make sense. How did he beat bigger guys? Why is he so fast? How did he knock him out? All these questions seem to have many answers. But I believe the answer is success, hard work and dedication.
It is just the evolution of a warrior; something we rarely witness. It's almost surreal and some fans can't accept it.