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‘Fight me instead’: Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao hits out at spate of attacks on elderly Asians in US

‘Fight me instead’: Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao hits out at spate of attacks on elderly Asians in US
Multiple-weight boxing world champion and Filipino senator Manny Pacquaio has issued a furious rebuke of a series of attacks against the elderly Asian community in the United States, calling on perpetrators to "fight me instead".

Records show that there has been a surge of hate crimes against the United States' Asian community in recent months, with some suggesting that the ramping up in violence is linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Among the violent attacks was an incident earlier this month in Atlanta when a gunman murdered eight people at a series of Asian-run spas and a recent episode captured on camera in which a 65-year-old Filipino-American woman was attacked by a man in broad daylight.

And it appears that Pacquaio has had his fill after this latest attack as the 42-year-old boxer called for a halt to anti-Asian violence - telling the perpetrators that, if they're looking for a fight, they can come visit him.

"We have one color in our Blood!" wrote Pacquiao to accompany the above Instagram post which displays a collage of a series of victims of the attacks. "Stop discriminating. LOVE AND PEACE TO EVERYONE!!"

He also submitted the same message in Tagalog, Chinese and Korean. 

In February, Philippine Embassy in the United States issued a warning to members of the Filipino-American community regarding the ramping up of violence, advising people to have the "utmost caution" due to the surge in violence, reported TMZ.

"Those who experience attacks are advised to immediately call 911 to report these incidents," they said.

Joining Pacquaio in speaking out against the attacks was NBA player Jeremy Lin, who described the violence as "heartbreaking" while Younghoe Koo, kicker for NFL's Atlanta Falcons, also said he was "deeply saddened" by the murder spree at the Atlanta spas. 

"As an Asian-American, I have heard the jokes and name calling," Koo said. "I often dealt with it by ignoring what was said and minding my own business.

"I don’t have all the answers, but I realize now more than ever that this is an issue that needs to be addressed and that ignoring it won’t help us do that."

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Pacquiao, who is the only boxer to have held world titles in eight weight divisions and the first to win world titles in four separate decades, is reported to be in discussions to fight former pound-for-pound number one, the 37-0 Terence Crawford in Abu Dhabi later this year.

This comes after Pacquiao was widely expected to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor - but plans for that fell by the wayside when the Irishman was unexpectedly knocked out by former foe Dustin Poirier this past January.