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MORRIS EAST: "I TOLD PACQUIAO ONE DAY HE WILL BECOME A CHAMPION...HE REALLY MADE IT"

By Percy Crawford | January 04, 2011
MORRIS EAST:

"I was a champion and Manny Pacquiao used to be around when I was a world champion. I was the first world champion and I was 19 years old. The problem was, in the Philippines, it was very corrupt. We got money, so nobody was good. We didn't have decent managers and they took all of my money and that's what made me stop early...When I was champion, Pacquiao was still an aspiring boxer...In 1994, I had already made it in the boxing world at that time and I went to the Philippines and Pacquiao was still a 4-6 rounder at the time. I approached Pacquiao at that time because I saw some potential in him as an amateur. I told Pacquiao one day he will become a champion, mark my words. Pacquiao then told me that I was his idol. And now Pacquiao has made it; he really made it," stated former jr. welterweight champion Morris East, the youngest Filipino boxer to ever win a world title. Check out what else he had to say as East relfects on his own career, Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and much more.

PC: How is everything going?

ME: I'm fine. I'm good.

PC: I know you work side-by-side with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and recently Chad Dawson made the decision to leave him. He will now be training with Emanuel Steward. What are your thoughts on his decision?

ME: That's his choice.

PC: Eddie Mustafa told me that before there was Manny Pacquiao, there was Morris East. What was it like for you to put the Philippines on the map in the fight game?

ME: You know what man? I was a champion and Manny Pacquiao used to be around when I was a world champion. I was the first world champion and I was 19 years old. The problem was, in the Philippines, it was very corrupt. We got money, so nobody was good. We didn't have decent managers and they took all of my money and that's what made me stop early.

PC: So becoming a champion at 19 was a gift and a curse at the same time. You got in the record books for being the second youngest 140-pound champion, behind Wilfred Benetiz, but you were so young that people took advantage of you.

ME: Yes! I stopped at the top because of the way they did me.

PC: Your knockout of Hiranaka, in which you captured the title, won "Knockout of the Year." How did that fight change your career?

ME: It was good. It was good inside the ring, but outside of the ring, my father passed and that was tough for me to deal with.

PC: I'm glad you mentioned your father because I have a lot of respect for you in the fact that even after you became champion and had enjoyed success in boxing, you wanted to find your father and meet him. CNN actually broadcasted the reunion and it was an emotional time for you because you found him living in some not so good conditions. What made you want to meet him after so much time had passed?

ME: It was a dream of mine to meet my father. I always wanted to meet my father. It was my dream to meet my dad and that's why I worked hard to become a champion, so that one day, I could go and find him.

PC: He passed not long after you met him, but you were able to put him in a better situation before he passed. Although it was short lived, how much peace of mind did you get just meeting him and making his situation better?

ME: Even though I just met him for a little bit, it was fine because that's all I asked for. It's too bad he didn't live long enough for me to get to know him, but after my dad passed, I lost my title. The fight was rigged and I got discouraged altogether because my father died and I lost my belt.

PC: You didn't have a very long career. You actually ended your career on a two-fight winning streak and you only fought 25 times. Was your career cut short simply because the sport was just too corrupt for you at the time?

ME: At the time, I was still top 3 when I quit, but I got totally discouraged because I didn't trust anybody at the time. I had the talent, but everybody took all of my money, from promoters to managers. They weren't there for me. They never told me how much my purse was. They took all of my money and I did a lot of promotional work and appearances and I didn't get a cent for any of that work, so I said, "Okay, you guys want to play this? I quit!" I just quit altogether, even though I was top 3 in the world, because they pissed me off so bad.

PC: What is your take on the new stars of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire? You gotta be proud of those guys and how they represent your country.

ME: Manny Pacquiao and Donaire are both good and hard workers. Manny Pacquiao was in my stable when I was a champion. When I was champion, Pacquiao was still an aspiring boxer. They both work hard and take pride in what they are doing. As far as Donaire, I had the opportunity to work in the corner for him in Las Vegas and he is a real person. In 1994, I had already made it in the boxing world at that time and I went to the Philippines and Pacquiao was still a 4-6 rounder at the time. I approached Pacquiao at that time because I saw some potential in him as an amateur. I told Pacquiao one day he will become a champion, mark my words. Pacquiao then told me that I was his idol. And now Pacquiao has made it; he really made it.

PC: I look forward to doing more with you champ. I really appreciate your time. Happy New Year's to you. Is there anything else you want to say before I let you go?

ME: Thank you very much for your time and same to you. I appreciate you giving me an interview.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to thank Morris' wife, Mary Lou East, for translating this interview.]



[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]

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