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Pacman for president? Fight legend Manny Pacquiao 'set to run for Philippines presidency'

Pacman for president? Fight legend Manny Pacquiao 'set to run for Philippines presidency'
Multiple-weight world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao may well have to ready himself for a very different type of fight after reportedly telling boxing promoter Bob Arum of his plans to assume the Filipino presidency in 2022.

The 41-year-old Pacquiao is no stranger to the political sphere, having first been elected to his country's House of Representatives more than a decade ago and in 2016 garnering a stunning 16 million votes to join the Philippines senate - where his win was announced in the same style as a Michael Buffer-like ring introduction.

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The celebrated star, who remains an icon in his homeland, is looking to take his political ambition one step further by launched a bid for the Filipino presidency upon the next round of elections in 2022. 

"The first president I think we’ll get as a fighter is little Manny Pacquiao, who told me, once again," Top Rank CEO Arum told WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, per numerous reports online.

"I did a Zoom telephone call with him, 'Bob, I’m gonna run in 2022 and, when I win, I want you there at my inauguration.'"

If successful, Pacquiao would succeed the controversial Rodrigo Duterte in the Filipino presidency - a figure who has been condemned by large swathes of the western world for his perceived strongman tactics and a 'zero tolerance policy' in the country's ongoing drug war. 

In a three-year period ending in July of last year, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency states that more than 5,000 suspects were killed during police operations linked to the Philippine Drug War. 

Speaking in 2016, Pacquiao gave his backing to Duterte's drug enforcement policies and voted in the senate for the reinstatement of the death penalty for drug dealers. He was also vocal in calling for the removal of the chairman of a committee overseeing an investigation into links between Duterte and vigilante groups thought to have been targeting people involved in the drugs trade.

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Pacquiao has admitted to multiple instances of drug use in his early life, including cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, though he says this part of his life ended before his boxing career took off. 

The veteran fighter last competed in July 2019, where he won the WBA welterweight world title from Keith Thurman.