SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 November) — Nineteen year old amateur boxer Rich Diamond Baruman waited for seven hours outside the City Hall here on Sunday to catch a glimpse of his idol, world boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.
“Manny is my idol and I want to meet him personally,” said Baruman, who was sitting at the back of a patrol car parked outside City Hall.
He would get what he wished for, and more.
A native of Dinagat Islands, Baruman works at the Alpha Fight Club here, a boxing gym where he serves as trainer. At the same time, he helps maintain the cleanliness of the gym.
“I work at the gym in exchange for my training. I’m hoping that I will turn professional boxer someday,” he said.
To get near his idol, Baruman approached media personalities and asked if he can talk to Pacquiao, who is in the city as part of a four-day swing of the Caraga region that started on Saturday. Pacquiao, elected Senator in 2016, is running for President in the 2022 elections.
During the press conference at the office of the city mayor, Baruman waited at the corner until radio reporter Sol Monteros read Baruman’s brief profile to Pacquaio, informing him about the young boxer’s improving amateur record of 13 wins and two losses.
Baruman finally met his idol face to face, the smiling Pacquiao offering him a fist to fist greeting.
“Gusto ka ako mo-monage nimo?” (You want me to manage you?), Pacquiao asked. The young boxer was stunned. He nodded and shook the hand of his idol.
“Lipay gyod ko kaayo. Wala gyod ko katingog dayon kay naulaw ko. Ay, na meet ra jod nako akong idol” (I’m very, very happy. I was speechless . I finally met my idol), he told reporters.
Baruman also had photo ops with Pacquiao’s wife, Jinky.
His wish to become a professional boxer may soon become a reality.
“Ako gyod himoon sa ako tanan makaya. Ako good ipakita ako talent basta adto na sa training ni Manny Pacquiao,” (I’ll do everything I can to the best of my ability. I will really show my talent in the training under Manny Pacquiao), he said.
Pacquiao has been helping several Filipino boxers reach their dreams under MP Promotions which the boxing legend owns.
Joey Hernal, head of Pacquiao’s communication team now has the contact details of Baruman. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)