Manny Pacquiao recalls how fate took him to the Wild Card and immortality

Manny Pacquiao Freddie Roach

Chris Farina

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao chose the destination of Hollywood to begin his American dream, and it just so happened to be a perfect choice.

One of the best partnerships of all time was born just a short distance from where he stayed – seemingly by the hands of fate.

Recalling how he and Freddie Roach first got together and eventually were handed a golden opportunity to shock the world, the Filipino Senator revealed just how everything fell into place.

“We were staying in a small apartment in Hollywood, near the Denny’s On Sunset Boulevard, not far from the highway (Highway 101),” explained Manny Pacquiao.

“The Denny’s and the apartment building are still there,” he pointed out.

“We wandered over to a gym that someone had recommended to us, the Wild Card Boxing Club. My manager introduced himself to a man in the gym and told him he was looking for a trainer to work mitts with me.

“That man turned out to be the gym owner, Freddie Roach, who agreed to work with me.

“After the first round, I returned to my corner and said I just found my new trainer. Freddie was great with the mitts and, as I soon found out, great with instruction too.

Manny Pacquiao Las Vegas debut

MANNY PACQUIAO FATE

“Suddenly, as I was preparing to go back to the Philippines, we get an offer to challenge IBF junior featherweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba.

“I was the number three-rated contender. The two fighters ahead of me couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take the fight.

“Freddie and I had trained together about two weeks. Now I’m walking into the ring at the MGM Grand to fight Ledwaba on HBO Pay-Per-View.

“It was crazy! That fight changed my life.”

Pacquiao’s victory was the catalyst to all that followed as the 42-year-old ripped through the divisions to become the best fighter on the planet.

A rivalry with Floyd Mayweather eclipsed when they fought in 2015. Huge paydays for both men overshadowed a disappointing fight.

To this day, Manny Pacquiao remains one of the biggest names in the sport. He can once again become the pound-for-pound king if he defeats Errol Spence on August 21.

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