Monday, March 24, 2008

Manny Pacquiao: World Champion

"It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning's winning." -- Vin Diesel, Fast and the Furious

Once again, the Filipino populace was wowed by the performance of its new age icon and idol. Last Palm Sunday, March 16 (March 15 in the U.S.), Manny Pacquiao finally beat World Boxing Council Super Featherweight champion Juan Manual Marquez, proving that he is the best there is in his weight division. After a pound-for-pound match that lasted the entire 12 rounds, both fighters never let down and fought till the end. But after all punches were thrown, Pacquiao emerged as the best and the toughest. In a split-decision with a tie-breaking score of 114-113, Manny Pacquiao became the new WBC Super Featherweight Champion of the world. Another victory for the Filipino people, like what he always says after his matches.

We have to admit that Manny Pacquiao is one of the reasons, besides economic resiliency and OFW remittances, that keep this country afloat and hopeful. Everytime a Manny Pacquiao fight takes place, Filipino time stops. Crime rate declines. Ceasefire occurs. The entire nation is in jubilation for every punch landed on Manny's opponent. In this aspect, cultures are united.

However, a lot of critics have seen the latest Pacquiao fight as lopsided and controversial. Even some Filipino analysts were demanding an investigation as to what had been the outcome of the match. Indeed, it was not a convincing match, but I think it was a well-fought match. It could have gone either way. We have once again shown the Filipinos' penchant for controversy, dissatisfaction and crab mentality.

I am a self-confessed Manny Pacquiao fan. I strongly believe that he will go down in history as the highest paid Filipino athlete of all time. And I know that he will go down the records as the most successful Filipino boxer, alongside or even better than the late greats Pancho Villa and Gabriel Elorde.

I think in cases like these, we should be able to protect our own breed. In Mexico, even if Morales was beat to a pulp, you will never hear a Mexican analyst saying that his fighter is weak. In China, wherever the Chinese goes, they support each other: be it good sides or bad. It's about time we leave the crab mentality behind.

I know that there were lapses in the Pacquiao camp. But these criticisms should be constructively put. I personally think that the "investigation" comment by one boxing analyst was very much uncalled for. But this is a free country so he can speak of what he thinks is right. Oh well.

It is about time that we give not just Manny Pacquiao but all other achievers of the country our all out support. In the end, it is not just their spirits who are uplifted, but every Juan de la Cruz out there who is looking for good news and reasons for believing that Filipinos are one of the best races in the world.

Cheers to Manny Pacquiao, the new WBC Super Featherweight Champion!

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