Poignant film explores Manny Pacquiao’s deep connection with followers, family and Faith

'Why does Manny box?' is asked throughout the film

‘Why does Manny box?’ is asked throughout the film

By John Sapida

Amid recent talks of a possible Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is the release of “Manny,” a documentary about the career of the charismatic “Pride of the Philippines,” Manny Pacquiao.

The documentary depicts Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches story and how he quit school in South Cotabato to become a boxer and now a legendary champion with eight division world titles. The documentary also explores Pacquiao’s other interests outside the boxing ring: on film sets, in recording studios, and in the House of Representatives where he sits as a congressman representing Sarangani province.

The documentary shows that while the boxing superstar may seem to be the total package, he still has his struggles. Pacquiao’s relationship with God, his family, and his team, whom we get to meet in depth throughout the documentary. They’re there to keep him strong and grounded, according to this first film of Filipino American director Ryan Moore.

The documentary features interviews with celebrities such Liam Neeson, who narrates the film, Jimmy Kimmel, Mark Wahlberg, and Jeremy Piven, as well as his wife Jinkee and his mother Dionesia. Ironically, not much is heard from Manny Pacquiao himself. While it was nice to hear from his trainers, promoters, celebrities, and family, we barely see Pacquiao’s point of view through personal interviews.

We only hear Pacquiao speak through some interviews, but his voice is mostly heard through clips of press conferences or post-match interviews. The film would have benefited from more in-depth personal interviews with Pacquiao especially when the documentary delves into his struggles in politics, his gambling, and looking at other women. All that is shown is a video of one of his speeches. It leads me to wonder why the filmmaker chose to feature interviews with people who surround him when he could have made Pacquiao speak for himself through interviews meant for the film.

What I did enjoy about the film is the way it humanizes Pacquiao as someone who had to work for the fame he now enjoys, and glorifies the road he took to get there. The documentary features some of the highlights of Pacquiao’s career such as his win over Oscar de la Hoya, his series of matches against Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, and more, and how Pacquiao has graciously accepted some of his losses, especially losing to Juan Manuel Marquez by way of a knockout. The documentary shows being far from perfect and yet packed with a lot of fighting spirit.

Why does Manny Pacquiao box?

“I know what I am. I am a fighter. I will always be a fighter,” says Pacquiao to end the film.

Pacquiao is thankful and filled with faith in God. “I came from nowhere and now I am everywhere, but we are all just men, we are imperfect. I am still learning what God’s plan is for me.”

Now, we wait whether or not this plan includes a match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“Manny” will be shown in cinemas around the United States as well as online through Amazon and Itunes. For more information and showtimes, visit mannypacquiaomovie.com/.

'I am still learning what God’s plan is for me.'

‘I am still learning what God’s plan is for me.’

The author is an M.A. candidate in International Affairs at The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. He is a writing intern at The FilAm.

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