NEW YORK – For being a champion inside and outside of the boxing ring, the Asia Society named Manny Pacquiao the 2015 Asia Game Changer of the Year awardee at a ceremony held at the United Nations in New York Tuesday night.
Former World Number 1 tennis player John McEnroe, a champion himself, conferred the prestigious top award to the Filipino boxing icon.
“Sports has the ability to change the word, and I think Manny Pacquiao is living proof that he is one of those individuals that has done that, not only obviously he’s an eight-time champion, been in boxing as a humanitarian, he’s given back in his own country,” McEnroe said.
“If you really have love in your heart, then show it in action by helping,” Paquiao said as he accepted the award. “Have compassion to those people who are in need of help. Thank you to all of you. I hope the real love is in our hearts all the time. May God bless you.”
Pacquiao shared the spotlight with other Game Changer awardees from all over Asia.
Like Shuji Nakamura, one of the three Japanese scientists who invented the L.E.D. light that changed the world’s lighting industry.
Lei Jun, known as the “Steve Jobs” of China, was also recognized for his affordable smartphones that are giving Samsung and Apple a run for their money.
Mariam Al-Mansouri, the first female fighter pilot of the United Arab Emirates, is also known as “Lady Liberty” for her fight against terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Also recognized as a Game Changer Awardee is Aasif Mandvi, a fake correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who uses humor to fight hate.
“I always knew as a young child that I would one day be on a list of honorees with Manny Pacquiao. Because I also, like him, have fought in eight different weight classes, mostly using doughnuts,” Mandvi joked.
Asia Society’s Tom Nagorski says he is hoping the awardees would inspire others to do the same.
“I guess I would hope that people learn about his work in terms of giving to other people,” Nagroski said, “He cannot look at people who are unfortunate, less fortunate than him, without thinking, ‘Okay, what can we do to help?’”
Pacquiao said, “Gusto ko ma-inspire sila lahat ng nagawa natin na mabuti sa kapwa, then paano tayo naka-survive sa galing sa mahirap na buhay, and then nagsumikap, naging matagumpay and then also yung pagtulong natin.”
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