Despite the Failure, Manny Pacquiao is still an inspiration…a true Christian in heart and spirit!

Despite the Failure, Manny Pacquiao
is still an inspiration…a true Christian in heart and spirit!
by Apolinario Villalobos

They say that after the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, the luster of boxing as an exciting sport which many enthusiasts transposed into gambling will be gone. The sport could turn bloody and deadly which makes it exciting, as enthusiastic boxers exchange punches, each one hoping to land a decisive one to his opponent.

While many boxers find their way to the square platform ringed with rope for the money, Pacquiao uses nationalism and his love for the sport as his alibis. Despite those humble reasons, he clearly gained from his victories as he became a billionaire by Philippine standard. He made use of the fame from his victories to propel his way to the Philippine Congress. He was even respectfully accepted as a singer and a playing basketball coach, thanks to his eminence. And, from being a Catholic he was pulled to the fold of a Christian sect which of course became more popular. The people who are surrounding him became unquestionably rich, and undeniably, his company gave them popularity, too. In other words, Pacquiao gained but was pitifully used at the same time. After his latest fight with Mayweather, it is obvious that he is the loser all the way, a fact that not even his “humble” statements, albeit, betrayed sometimes by his defensive statements may not cover up a bit. Truth really hurts.

Pacquiao has only his too trusting own-self to blame for all that transpired in his bout with Mayweather. He was overconfident of his prowess, despite the shoulder injury that he incurred in the course of his training, and he also trusted his manager who did not declare the injury during the weigh-in. His honest admission of such injury during an interview after the fight hoping that it could justify his poor performance, cost him an immediately- filed class suit in Nevada, for a whooping damages of USD5M, with several more filed later.

Boxing fans all over the world felt cheated because Pacquiao did not deliver as expected, despite the excessively-priced tickets for the venue and pay per view on screen. They must have expected Pacquiao to maim Mayweather or turn him into a bloody pulp with his powerful right punch. And, the allegation that the information about his injury may have been leaked to the Mayweather camp, making the American boxer focus on the further weakening of his right shoulder by frequently hugging him followed by jabs to such particular part of his body, thereby, preventing him from delivering powerful right jabs… is another issue.

The enthusiastic quest of Pacquiao for fame has spelled his latest failure, for despite his physical inadequacy he went on with the fight. Many boxing enthusiasts are saying that he should have retired long time ago yet while he was perched on the pedestal of fame as the only boxer with many titles to his name, though with a few loses. He was lionized by sports magazines, admired even by Hollywood icons and equally famous boxers. He should have concentrated on his responsibilities as a Congressman to show that he is worthy of a higher post, or help budding boxers by putting up boxing gyms all over the country, or even put up chapels for his Christian congregation and pursue his spiritual advocacy.

Although there are gyms in Manila that bear his name on their signboards, some people doubt if he owns all of them, and if indeed he does, it is doubted if he visits them regularly. He neglected his duties as the Representative of Sarangani, one of the poor provinces, if not the poorest in the whole Philippines, and ironically, where he is also allegedly constructing the biggest and most luxurious resort in the country. His fellow congressmen justified his absences from sessions with “nationalism” as he was supposedly fighting for his countrymen and beloved country.

Unfortunately, his ventures seemingly show him as the kind of guy who wants to have everything in life all at once, a person without gratification. He spreads himself so thinly, that could dangerously crack his person, even beyond recovery. Sadly, if more legal cases against him will be filed in the United States and prosper to his disadvantage, many fans are concerned that the painfully- earned dollars from his boxing career may just be enough for the alleged damages and legal expenses. Will his “friends” help him, especially the opportunistic politicians who hover over him, hoping to be caught on cameras every time there are fights or interviews? I hope that his story will not be like those of other champion Filipino boxers who got intoxicated by fame that caused their painful fall with a loud thud.

Pacquiao has been perceived by his users as a fighting cock or a prized breed of dog that must be groomed well for competitions because of big amounts that they wager. Pacquiao did not feel this a bit as he got numbed by adulation. He was engrossed in the thought that he was being idolized and looked up to as inspiration of aspiring boxers which are really true. But he was blinded by his success so he failed to see the unfavorable side of his victorious streak. He also failed to comprehend the laws of life that say: a cup overflows as it can take just enough …and what goes up must come down. In other words, there is an end to everything in life as willed by God.

Honestly, I had been apprehensive about an injury that he will finally endure, but in his eardrum which was damaged during an earlier fight, and which will eventually affect his vision. Though I was right about the heavy damage, it happened in another part of his body – his right shoulder. The only persons who could authoritatively tell Pacquiao to stop his boxing career, in this regard, will be the surgeons who will perform the operation, but only if they find the damage in his right shoulder to be beyond repair. Will the family of Pacquiao pray for this as they want Manny to move around with still the same swagger, both shoulders moving in rhythm with his arms? For sure, if Pacquiao is assured of a total recovery in time by the surgeons, he will vehemently and stubbornly decide for a rematch to which Mayweather has already consented this early.

The damage being suffered by Pacquiao is too much that his fans should stop egging him to go on for a rematch with Mayweather. Waiting for him are legal suits filed in America which are more than enough to cause him sleepless nights. Besides, no boxer will ever expect a victory over a shrewd and “technically wise” fighter such as Mayweather with his evasive hugs, back steps and runs, unless a knock-out punch hits him clean and squarely.

Despite his latest failure, Pacquiao should be credited for his effort in showing how to fight decently by maintaining his utmost humility and clean style. Subtly, he softened Mayweather as shown by the absence of arrogance in the latter’s statements every time he was interviewed before and after the fight. If boxing historians will be fair enough to Pacquiao, they should acknowledge his restrained insistence to maintain sportsmanship which should be the essence of boxing. He has been setting instances on how to maintain a friendly mood after the physically straining and painful competition, by inviting his opponents to his hometown for a visit, with all expenses covered by him. If that is not a friendly gesture, I do not know what it should be called.

As a countryman and avid fan, I sincerely pray for the fast recovery of Manny Pacquiao. He may have been waylaid by his overly trusting attitude, kindness, and most especially his zealous desire to rise from his humble beginning. His unwavering endurance to fight poverty should inspire us to move on and hurdle the challenges along the way. For me, he is the same Manny Pacquiao with a tiger look, an innocent smile, hearty laugh and a husky voice like any other country singer around; the same guy who struggles with English to show that he is trying his best to recoup the lost time that should have been spent in classroom, but denied him due to utter poverty; and, the same guy who prays before and after a fight. He showed us how to love unconditionally, as besides showering his mother and family with it, he extended the same to his father who abandoned them while he and his siblings were young, leaving his mother to work night and day just to keep them alive. For me, he is a true Christian in heart and spirit, selflessly compassionate, and who does not harbor hate in his heart!

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