Mark Magsayo rubs elbows with heroes Pacquiao and Pazienza

WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo has met his two boxing idols, Manny Pacquiao and Vinny Pazienza. Now he wants to become a legend himself.

Growing up in Tagbilaran City, Philippines, young Mark Magsayo was inspired by the Philippines boxes Legend Manny Pacquiao like many youngsters worldwide. Today, Pacquiao is Magsayo’s boxing promoter, advisor, and friend.

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) Retired September 2021 with a legacy as one of the greatest boxers in history. After a 26-year professional boxing career, Pacquiao won 12 world titles in eight divisions. That’s an achievement that may never be matched by anyone else.

Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) became world champion for the first time in January, defeating Gary Russell Jr. by majority decision. It’s unfair to compare the 27-year-old to Pacquiao just because they’re from the Philippines, but Pacquiao’s emotional impact on Magsayo is undeniable.

Magsayo started boxing because of Pacquiao. Athletes are role models, and Pacquiao was Magsayo’s role model. As Magsayo climbed the boxing ranks, Pacquiao took notice of Magsayo and signed him to his company, MP Promotions.

As fate brought them together, a bond grew between them. Magsayo followed in Pacquiao’s footsteps and traveled to the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, California to work with Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach.

Pacquiao has shaped Magsayo’s life in many ways, and Magsayo feels a close connection to his hero and friend.

“When he announced he was retiring, I was sad,” Magsayo told FanSided. “I cried a little bit because he’s my idol since I started boxing. He inspired me to train boxing. So he’s my hero in boxing. So a bit sad.”

Watch Mark Magsayo vs. Rey Vargas on Saturday, July 9th at 9:00pm ET on Showtime

Pacquiao’s body of work brought Magsayo to where he is today. No matter what happens to Magsayo later, nobody can take away what he has achieved. Magsayo entered the record books by winning the WBC title six months ago. He celebrated with his family and felt the love of his homeland.

“I’m celebrating with me and my family in the Philippines,” Magsayo said. “And all my cities are so proud of me because my dream of becoming a world champion has come true.”

Becoming world champion is a rare honor, but Magsayo believes it’s just the beginning of what he can achieve. His first defense meets undefeated former super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas on July 9th at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.

Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs) has an advantage of 5 inches in height and 4 inches in reach over Magsayo. Despite the difference in height and range, Magsayo feels he is superior to Vargas.

“It’s easy fighting a big guy,” Masayo said. “The little guy, when he runs small, is hard to catch.”

It also helps that Pacquiao gave Magsayon ​​hints on how to beat Vargas.

“Actually him [Pacquiao] I was talking about my opponent coming over,” Magsayo said. “He taught me how to defeat this big guy. So he just told me to beat this guy, use your footwork.”

When you see Magsayo dancing around more than usual during the fight against Vargas, you’ll know why.

In addition to Pacquiao, Magsayo also worships former champion Vinny Pazienza. Magsayo was turned on by Pazienza from the 2016 biopic Bleed for it. Pazienza was present when Magsayo defeated Russell in Atlantic City.

“I’m honoured [come] face to face and in Atlantic City [with Pazienza]’ Magsayo said. “He’s been my idol since that film. It is great. It is great. It has inspired me and is an honor.”

Magsayo has come a long way on his boxing journey. A win over Vargas would go a long way in helping him establish himself at featherweight and would be another step in expanding his dreams. Mark Magsayo rubs elbows with heroes Pacquiao and Pazienza

John Verrall

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