Manny Pacquiao is still going strong in 2020, but back in 1995 he made a pro boxing debut with no fanfare at the age of 16.
25 years ago today, one of the all-time greats made his professional boxing debut at the age of 16, and Manny Pacquiao remembered the day on his Instagram page:
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January 22, 1995 25 years ago today, I started my professional boxing career. I never imagined life would bring me to where I am now. I never dreamed of all the accomplishments my future would hold. Boxing changed my life forever. It lifted my family and I out of poverty, brought me places I never dreamed I would be, and provided me the opportunities to help others along the way. However, I would not be where I am today if it were not for my family, who always stood beside me through the ups and downs; my coaches and team, who worked tirelessly to get us where we needed to be; my countrymen, who encouraged me and allowed me the privilege to represent our beloved country - the Philippines; and to all my fans around the world, who continually cheered me on and supported me. Manny Pac-Man Pacquiao has made it this far because of you, so I dedicate this day to all of you that have been there for me these past 25 years. Thank you all so much and may God bless!
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Pacquiao weighed in at 106 pounds for his debut fight against Edmund Enting Ignacio, a 20-year-old fellow Filipino who was 1-1 at the time and would go on to fight from 1994-2001, with a pro record of 8-24-3 (1 KO).
Pacquiao won a four-round decision that day in Sablayan. He’d win his first world title in 1998, knocking out Chatchai Singwangcha in Thailand to win the WBC flyweight belt. He has, of course, gone on to win world titles in eight divisions overall, and currently holds the WBA welterweight title, which he won last July by beating Keith Thurman.
He has engaged in legendary rivalries with the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales, and shared the ring with a number of greats: Floyd Mayweather, Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, and many more champions.
“I never imagined life would bring me to where I am now,” Pacquiao wrote. “I never dreamed of all the accomplishments my future would hold. Boxing changed my life forever. It lifted my family and I out of poverty, brought me places I never dreamed I would be, and provided me the opportunities to help others along the way.”