Over 600,000 Filipinos remain homeless while looting, gunfire and desperation have taken over his homeland. Pacquiao believes the best way to bring hope to his hungry and thirsty countrymen is to win his Nov. 24 fight against Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao's heart-wrenching decision to fight while the distractions of the storm and its after effects surround him will not stop the Filipino congressman from his training schedule.
Veteran trainer Freddie Roach insists it is for the best. In what he called a "statement to his people," the 34-year-old Pacquiao said: "I really want to visit the area and personally do what I can to help our countrymen who have suffered so much in this terrible tragedy. But I'm in deep training for a crucial fight so I regret I cannot go."
"I will send help to those who need it the most," he added, "and I join all of you to pray for our country and people in these trying times."
Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday that the former champion was hoping to visit devastated parts of the Philippines after his fight at the Venetian Casino's Cotai Arena in Macau, and wants to cheer them up with a victory.
Koncz, who is in camp with the boxer in General Santos, said he is declining interview requests for Pacquiao in a bid to lock out any distractions. He said Pacquiao's camp had been watching developments and getting frequent updates in the wake of the typhoon, and it was difficult for the former champion not to go out and help.
"Manny's desire was to go to that area and to visit them and lift the spirits," Koncz said. "But we have the most important fight of his career. His heart and prayers go out to the survivors and the victim's families. Absolutely, he is dedicating this fight to the victims of this."
Pacquiao and his team leave for Macau on Monday. "It's been one of the best camps I can remember. No tensions within everyone dedicated to our jobs and working hard," Konzc said. "Manny's in the best physical condition he can be in. His mindset is on showing the world he can still compete to the highest level."
The one-time pound-for-pound champion has said the Rios fight, his first of the year, will be the start of his intended return to his peak form and to show that consecutive losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez are not the start of a decline.
More importantly, a win by the Filipino idol might bring bring just a little glimmer of hope and happiness to those people's shattered lives.