Walking the Floor bobs and weaves this week, swapping its usual focus on Americana music for a special conversation with boxing’s only eight-division world champion.
“It’s not a music episode,” explains podcast host Chris Shiflett, an avid fan of the sweet science, during the episode’s first moments. “It’s a boxing episode, and the guest this week is none other than Manny freakin’ Pacquiao.”
Recorded days before Pacquiao’s January 19th fight with Adrien Broner, this unconventional installment of Walking the Floor finds Shiflett and Pacquiao talking about fingerstyle guitar, boxing training regimens and his work in the Philippine Senate. Below, we’ve gathered a few highlights from the 35-minute episode.
Pacquiao is an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist.
Before conducting the interview at Pacquiao’s Los Angeles home, Shiflett handed his acoustic guitar to the boxer, who promptly entertained a room of spectators, trainers and PR personnel with some instrumental music. Later, the two talked about Pacquiao’s musical hobby. “Since I was little, I’ve loved listening to music,” he said. “I learned to play guitar, and in fact, I am practicing also playing keyboard and piano.” Later, he rattles off a long list of influences, from the Bee Gees to Jim Croce.
That said, he’s not giving up his day job any day soon.
“I’ve achieved what I wanted, beyond my expectations,” says Pacquiao, who, at 40, is one of the oldest active boxers in the sport. “This is my passion. I’m happy bringing honor to my country … Every time that I have a fight, Filipino people are united in that moment.”
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He’s also a senator in the Philippines.
“Like I said, boxing is my passion,” he reiterates, “and public service is my mission. There’s a lot of people that need help — real, real help.” A potential candidate for the Philippine presidential election in 2022, Pacquiao says his low-income upbringing in Kibawe helps endear him to his countrymen. “I’ve been there,” he explains. “I’ve been poor. I’ve been nothing. I’ve experienced that, and that’s why I want to serve them.”
His favorite fighters include worldwide champions, as well as some lesser-known boxers back home.
“There’s a lot,” he explains, when asked to list his top boxers. “[Vasly] Lomachenko. . .Canelo [Álvarez] … There’s a lot more, and I have a lot of fighters in the Philippines that need more exposure here in the United States.”
He’s ready for the upcoming fight with Adrien Broner.
“I’m not taking him lightly,” Pacquiao says. “I just focus on my training and my fighting … I believe we can give a good fight and we can entertain the boxing fans. His style is similar to Floyd Mayweather, but I’m not thinking about Floyd. I’m thinking about Broner — his style, how he moves, and how he’s young.”