The comparison between Bruce Lee and Manny Pacquiao isn’t one you hear about too often because, well, there is seemingly absolutely no reason to compare them. However, in a New York Times article published on Sunday, the Filipino star's conditioning coach discusses some of the elements Pacquiao took away from Lee’s movies:
Growing up in the Philippines, Pacquiao studied Lee, watching his movies on endless loops. He still often views his collector’s set. "Enter the Dragon" is his favorite. His conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, says he believes Pacquiao built his baseline movement off Lee’s template, the continual attacking, the feet drummed in and out.
"Bruce Lee jumped around and kicked his feet and shook his head and shoulders," Ariza said. "His feet moved in concert with his hands. He could be choppy, but he was rhythmic. Manny does the same thing. It comes from that."
Lee, of course, has become an iconic figure in popular culture because of his storied film career. His style, movements and constant characterization as the “good guy” made him a staple of modern-American fight classics.
Similarly, Pacquiao over the course of his career, has become something of an iconic figure due in large part to his role as the “good guy” foil to his many opponents. His public image and fan adoration goes beyond just that of your typical beloved fighter – it borders on worship.
If nothing else, Ariza’s comments just go to show that the unlikeliest of characters can have a dramatic impact on the psyche of the biggest stars in the world.