He's been called the fighter of the decade, an all-time great, Congressman, and now Manny Pacquiao receives a new tag to try on: Senator.
His native land has spoken, and after the bulk of votes in a Monday election have been counted, the boxer who came from quite humble beginnings in General Santos City is making the cut to step up a weight class.
Pacman, age 38 in December, had a scare thrown in his campaign when he slurred gay people three months ago, opining publicly that their romantic leanings make them worse than animals. He then explained he was taken out of context. His poll numbers dipped but he recovered. He will finish eighth, and the top 12 candidates gain entry to the Senate.
His fighting days in the ring are maybe over, as he's made clear that juggling training and Senatorial duties are not doable. Critics of his campaign note that he didn't make his physical presence felt as a congressperson–he snagged a seat in 2010–and think he's better suited for the prizefight ring over the political arena. He disagrees and hasn't shot down speculation he's ultimately aiming for the highest office.
The boxing world will surely miss his pugilistic talents. The best Asian boxer the world has known mixed superb athleticism with marvelous hand speed and footwork which made him a no brainer Hall of Famer. His nation hopes he evolves as a public figure and can excel in the same vein, while serving their interests.