Fame and success has been difficult for Manny Pacquiao to navigate throughout his career, not least because he has become an icon to people in his own country, the Philippines, which has a number of social and economic issues. He has even seen his formerly close relationship with the president of the country, Rodrigo Duterte, sour.
At the present moment, Pacquiao is focusing on his upcoming bout with Errol Spence Jr on August 21, yet he is also being forced to defend himself against attacks from the government of Duterte.
Pacquiao recently denounced the government, suggesting there was corruption at play, which has brought a stinging response from Duterte.
“You are full of s**t, being a boxing champion doesn’t mean that he is a champion in politics,” Duterte claimed.
“He is too old and he’s failing in his boxing career, first you must fulfil your duty as a senator and not be absent.
“I warn you, I will go for you during the electoral campaign, I will tell the people everything, don’t think that if you ever win and you’re president that corruption in the Philippines will disappear.”
Pacquiao, for his part, refused to be drawn into a war of words with Duterte, at least whilst he is trying to prepare to face Spence.
“I am focused on this, I am sure that they want to distract me, I wasn’t born yesterday,” Pacquiao explained in an interview with DZBB.
“They attacked me with evil, they slandered me a lot, but I haven’t stolen from anyone.
“I have to fight for what I feel is my commitment to the Filipino people, I fight for what is in my heart, is that my fault? Is it my fault that I stand up for the truth?”