He brought international sporting glory to the Philippines, but the world boxing champion has met his match, a little too close to home.
Manny Pacquiao is surrendering to his snobbish neighbors, who have been complaining of a steady stream of visitors in shabby clothes to his house.
Pacquiao said Thursday he is selling his mansion in Manila’s Forbes Park, the city’s premier neighborhood.
He told AFP that as a “man of the masses”, he is not finicky with his visitors, even if they are wearing “just shorts and slippers”.
The former fish vendor, who has won world boxing titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, is wildly popular in the Philippines, but his newfound wealth cuts no ice with his old-money neighbors.
Pacquiao, 35, was elected to Congress in 2010. Like many wealthy Filipino politicians, AFP reported, he frequently receives constituents asking for hand-outs and favours.
He said he had apologised to his neighbors, some of whom understood that the procession of poor people was seeking financial assistance.
“I may be as rich as some of them here, but my lifestyle remains the same, and so is my heart,” he told AFP.
“I am just a simple man. I will never change that.”
As for the three-story mansion, which he bought for 400 million pesos (US$8.9 million) in 2011, Pacquiao said, “If there’s somebody who is willing to buy, I’m going to sell it.”
He expects to profit from the sale of the property, which has five bedrooms, several reception and dining halls and an office, as he has made renovations to it.
Pacquiao also owns a fleet of luxury cars and a mansion in his hometown in the southern Philippines that has a pool shaped like a boxing glove.
The champ dominated American Chris Algieri in a bout in Macau on Sunday to retain his world welterweight title.
Pacquiao said he will buy a new house that can accommodate more visitors.
He may need to find a mansion perched on a hill, so that his neighbors won’t be able to look down their noses on the riff-raff that beat a path to his door.
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