MANILA, Philippines --- The flag might as well have been on half-mast on our Independence Day yesterday, because our hero Manny Pacquiao lost a split decision to Timothy Bradley. I leave it to sports commentators to tell who really won.
This was not the first time Pacquiao lost… and in losing, won. To commit the worst kind of plagiarism (which is to quote oneself), I recall my knee-jerk reaction on the first Pacquiao-Morales fight and the lessons to draw from it:
“MGM Grand Garden Arena, L.A., March 3, 2005. — We lost a champion today. Two judges and referee Cortez scored it 115-113 for Erik Morales. Manny Pacquiao entered the ring 12-to-10 odds-on favorite for the WBC International & IBA Super featherweight titles. Filipino bettors must have enriched the Mexicans that evening. Our congressmen flew in (in-aid-of-legislation) on their Holy Week break to see the gladiators’ fight at Nevada.
“The fight was graphically played at the delayed telecast. In the 5th round, Manny was cut on the right eye, from an accidental head butt. The cut blurred his right vision, and ring savvy Erik Morales worked on that right cut with jabs. Each punch Manny absorbed only agitated him to charge. The ugly cut gushed; and Manny couldn’t see the punches coming from the left. That was probably why occasionally Morales would shift to the southpaw stance.
“When our fighter barreled in, the Filipino crowd would rise to their feet calling for a kill. But he was a wounded, unseeing bull; and the matador traipsed out of harm’s way. Pacman came in again and again for the kill, especially in the last round. But his strength did not have the finish on the 12th round.
“Our partisan Filipino commentator said, weakly, that in his view Pacquiao was the winner. We should have won… We could have won… We could have done better… There were many excuses. Manny should not have climbed from 112 up to 130 pounds, to punch above his weight… They used powder gloves instead of the lighter, thinner ones, which the hard-hitting Manny could have used to damage… And then there was the controversial head-butt.
“Oh, what the heck, Manny Pacquiao lost; but in losing, he showed how to win.“What did our champion have to say? First, he embraced the champion on the ring. Sadly, he said that, yes, he could not see above the right eye. But did his corner protest? No, it was the referee’s decision. The referee asked Manny several times if he wanted to stop. No ‘No mas’ for our warrior.”
“Manny asked only for one thing – a rematch.
“And Manny removed all doubt via TKO on the 10th round at the rematch on Jan. 21, 2006.
“My favorite Nike poster shows Pacman with his back to us at his ring corner, on his knees after every fight giving thanks, win or lose – just the swoosh on his soles showing the brand.
“Pacman for President! Unlike our politicians, he abides by the referee’s decision. No Filipino has ever accepted losing an election: It was always stolen from him. Manny Pacquiao running for President would give us clean elections. But, again, if he wins, how sure are we that the loser won’t protest that he wuz robbed?”
Epilogue: The collateral damage of that lost fight is the dream Pacquiao-Mayweather match. The fight vs. Bradley was only tune-up for Manny for the elusive biggest fight of the century. But now he has to go the route of the November rematch to reclaim his crown before Mayweather.
Mayweather will now say he is the unchallenged pound-for-pound king and demand 70-30 sharing of the purse. (Pacman counters, “Winner take all, na lang)!
Or the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight may never happen, so we may never know who is king. Only that one is law-maker, and the other, law-breaker. FEEDBACK: firstname.lastname@example.org