When I ran for Congress in 2007, I made the decision right away, without preparation. There’s a lot of poverty in my province. I wanted to represent them. I came from the dirt like everyone else. I finished a fight in San Antonio [a victory over Jorge Solis of Mexico], then I flew to the Philippines to campaign. I wasn’t prepared. I lost.
Some people thought I would not try again, but I came up with a better plan. I made the decision to run earlier. This time [in 2010] I prepared two years, and I won. I hope people are pleased with my performance as a politician over the past two years. I’ve implemented a lot of programs for families, scholarships for education. My goal has always been to fight poverty. Before I met President Obama last year, I saw Senator [Harry] Reid and asked him about a bill in Washington that would create jobs in our garment industry. For me, this is an important job.
The boxing always comes first for my life, for my family, for the honor of my country. I schedule my training and fights around congressional recesses. When I fight, I feel the people of my country looking on. I don’t think about retiring right now. I want to fight more. I pray that, with God’s will, I can. I didn’t worry about my boxing career because I’m good at managing my time.
People ask about Floyd Mayweather. If he wants to fight, I’m open to negotiation. I want that fight to happen, but right now I’m focused on the fight I face next.
I’m more mature now. I’ve learned good lessons from my mistakes. The Bible is my manual to life. What I don’t like about politics is the corruption. I love the Philippines. I want it to be stronger. I think the politicians have been too divided. There’s too much fighting. How can this country come together? People ask if I want to be president. I’m focused right now on being a good congressman. I do intend to run again. I think I’ve made a difference. There is more pressure, but you have an advantage as a celebrity. You can convince your colleagues to give you support in passing a bill if you’ll box for them. I think I can be more effective if I can help direct government funds and legislation where it can do the most good. Boxing is my passion. Public service is my calling. — As told to Diane Brady