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Sweet Science

Juan Carlo de Vela

Cebu, Philippines. May 2015

Paciano “Noy Pacing” Flores is a boxing legend in Cebu, an island province in the Philippines. He began training amateur boxers in his residence at Mandaue City and became known as a hero of Cebu boxing, a maker of champions and legends. He shaped Cebu boxing into what it is today, his work done behind the ropes.

He died in 2004, and the gym was passed to his son, Brix Flores, a bronze medalist at the 1986 Asian Games in South Korea.

The boxers that train there prepare for amateur fights – there is no money, just an opportunity to show their boxing skills and, perhaps, be recognized by a promoter and get the chance to fight in a professional bout. The professional bouts might earn them 1000 pesos in every round, the same path taken by their idol, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, who fought to raise his family from poverty.

Many of these young men hope to become like him someday, to bring honor to our country as they live up to what Pacman said: “I came from nothing into something and I owe everything to God.”

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