11/04/2016 11:16 BST | Updated 09/04/2017 06:12 BST

One Final Time - For Manny, for Uncle Sardo


Las Vegas, 2 May, 2015; Manny Pacquiao was one-half of the richest sports event in history. His reported net earnings for 36 minutes of boxing was $120M - $55,555.55 per second, to be precise.

But let us call this the top and call Manny 'One in Seven Billion', who started from the bottom. Manny was born in a country where, today, 28 Million people survive on less than $1.25 per day.

"When he started, he had no muscle on him at all and I couldn't see him ever becoming a fighter."​

​Pacquiao was born amongst the Philippine rice fields. His family, sometimes, too poor to even afford rice. If he was born today, he would be one in four billion - surviving on less than $2 a day. ​

Uncle Sardo, perhaps by necessity, didn't give Manny rice - he gave him a chance to practice. A purpose, which challenged Manny to work toward a goal. He gave Manny an opportunity to work for his dream. The rest is history.

Tomorrow, Manny Pacquiao is set to fight for the very last time - an encore bout to draw the curtain on a most remarkable career. His real-life Rocky story, illuminated by unyielding persistence, prodigious courage, and equitable talent that lead him to dominate on the biggest stage. ​

Manny was born at the bottom, but he grew to a phenom whose reach transcends his sport. While Manny never carried with him the same charisma and bravado of Muhammed Ali, he instead carried a national identity that united a country, that perhaps still to this day, is still finding her true self.

But this is not about Manny. It is not about adorning demigods, for they are as rare as nature itself - too precious to be explained, better just to be admired.

​This is about Uncle Sardo. More specifically, this is about the four billion people who today survive with few possessions, but hold more worth than they will ever know. This is about us. About humanity. About creating a world made for living - not just existing.

This is about an opportunity for children to dream big or to dream small. Just an opportunity to dream.


To start from the bottom and, if they desire it so, to strive to become teachers, doctors, leaders, achievers - an opportunity to dream in colour. To give anything less than opportunity is not good enough. For us to permit anything less is to deprive our world of nature itself.

Tomorrow, Team Pacquiao will cheer for their champion - for their 'One in Seven Billion'. Team Bradley, for theirs.

​Today, we cheer for Uncle Sardo and take a moment to appreciate. Without Uncle Sardo, there would be no Manny. And tomorrow evening, Manny will make the Philippines stand still for one last time.

Today, Uncle Sardo stands an inspiration to others who might be born with less, but whose life is no less precious.