Mark Magsayo rubbing elbows with heroes Pacquiao and Pazienza

WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo has met both of his boxing idols, Manny Pacquiao and Vinny Pazienza. Now, he’s looking to become a legend himself.

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

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) retired in September 2021 with a legacy as one of the best boxers in history. After a 26-year professional boxing career, Pacquiao won 12 world titles across eight divisions. That is a feat that might never be attained by anyone else.

Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) became a 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 the two are 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 Pacquiao’s footsteps by traveling to the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, CA, to work with Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach.

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

“When he announced that he retired, I felt sad,” Magsayo said to FanSided. “I cried a little bit because he’s my idol since I started boxing. He’s the one who inspired me to train boxing. So he’s my hero in boxing. So that’s why a little bit sad.”

Watch Mark Magsayo vs. Rey Vargas on Saturday, July 9, on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET

Pacquiao’s body of work propelled Magsayo to where he is today. No matter what happens to Magsayo down the road, no one can take away what he has accomplished. By winning the WBC title six months ago, Magsayo entered his name in the record books. He celebrated with his family and felt the love of his home country.

“I celebrate with me and my family in the Philippines,” Magsayo said. “And all my cities are so proud of me because my dream came true to become a world champion.”

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

Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs) has a 5-inch height and 4-inch reach advantage over Magsayo. Despite the height and reach differential, Magsayo feels like he has the edge over Vargas.

“It’s easy to fight a tall guy,” Masayo said. “The small guys when he runs than small, it’s difficult to catch.”

It also helps that Pacquiao shared pointers with Magsayon on how to beat Vargas.

“Actually, he [Pacquiao] talked about my opponent just coming by,” Magsayo said. “He taught me how to defeat that tall guy. So he only said to me to defeat that guy, use your footwork.”

If you see Magsayo dancing around more than normal when fighting Vargas, you know why.

Beyond Pacquiao, Magsayo has also come to revere former champion Vinny Pazienza. Magsayo got turned on to Pazienza from the 2016 biopic Bleed for This. Pazienza was in attendance when Magsayo defeated Russell in Atlantic City.

“It’s a it’s my honor to [come] face to face and in Atlantic City [with Pazienza],” Magsayo said. “He’s my idol since that movie. It’s great. It’s great. It’s inspired me and an honor for me.”

Magsayo has come a long way on his boxing journey. A win against Vargas would greatly help in establishing his hold on the featherweight division and would be another step towards broadening his dreams.

Source: FanSided

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