Manny mania grips Hawaii

Leoncio Cardenas
Leoncio Cardenas
Eichi Jumawan
Eichi Jumawan
Tyler Phillips
Tyler Phillips

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The only thing more potent than world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao's fists is his fame and the influence that goes with it.

"The word Filipino stands out these days because of Manny Pacquiao," said Hawaii Philippine Consul General Leoncio Cardenas.

Saturday's win over Antonio Margarito gave Pacquiao his eighth boxing title.

Leoncio said the fighter's impact exceeds his boxing accomplishments.

"He has inspired millions, practically all Filipinos, whether in the Philippines or all over the world," he said.

And it's not just Filipinos.

Eichi Jumawan, the coach of PearlSide Boxing club, said most young boxers at his gym want to fight like Pacquiao.

He tells them there's more to learn from the man than a one-two punch.

"I think the story about Manny -- he started way down, he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and then made it big -- really connects with people,' he said.

Pacquiao's pugilistic accomplishments spawned a Nike line of tee-shirts, jackets, shoes and slippers.

When he fights, the Champs Store in Ala Moana rings up $300 to $500 in daily sales of Manny merchandise.

"We can't keep it in stock," store manager Tyler Phillips said. "They sell it pretty well in Vegas and places like that. But here in Hawaii, they can't compete with us."

Paquiao's rags-to-riches story is still unfolding. He's now a member of the Philippine congress and he's an actor and a singer.

"If you really put your heart into it and use your God given skills you can do a lot.  I think this is a lesson that every Filipino aspires to," Cardenas said.

It's a lesson we can all learn from.

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