President Rodrigo Duterte was already a believer in Senator Manny Pacquiao’s boxing skills even when the latter was still a lanky boxer who has yet to make a name for himself in the international stage.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Pacquiao recalled how Duterte helped organize one of his early fights in Davao City, about 15 years ago.

“He helped me a lot. He helped me with the promotion when I started in boxing. One of my fights held in Davao, he sponsored it,” Pacquiao said of Duterte.

“He helped with the promotion, financially as well,” the senator added.

Pacquiao said he and Duterte have come a long way since he first met the then-mayor of Davao City in his 20s.

He said the he and the President have often met for meals throughout the years and he’s godfather to one of his Duterte’s grandsons.

In addition, Pacquiao said Duterte often called him after a fight to congratulate him. 


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