May 3, 2015; 2:00 p.m.; MNL Time.
Everything has yet to subside. Social media was in total disarray. There were tweets of love turned to hate, and tweets of love turned into love even stronger. Facebook news feed was flooded with novel-like appreciation to a hero, and some emotional dismay on a decision claimed to be unjust. There were even Instagram posts showing creativity of these passionate people with humorous memes, tags, and monickers. Racist remarks were thrown. Sexist expressions were out of control. It was all because of a fight. The Fight of the Century.
Six years in the making. “Finally,” says me and the world. Everybody waited. Everybody was ecstatic. The dream match was becoming a reality.
Three National Anthems were sung. Then, the main faces of the night entered.
The underdog came out first. He jogged, waved, and even took a selfie– all with his patented smile. As always, he was on his knees as soon as he entered the ring while his own recorded song played as background music.
The former’s song was cut immediately, which I find so impolite. (Because I was singing my hearts out. Smh.) I couldn’t complain. The Pound-for-Pound King was on his way, accompanied by a teen singing sensation everybody knows who. Looking so dead serious was he. He entered the ropes looking so composed and ready for some business.
Ring announcers screamed their respective costly words. The third man laid his instructions. The Arena was going nuts and bananas. Gloves touched. Bell rang. Fight on. Here we go.
Combinations. Fearless attacks. Hand speed. Footwork. Crisp punches from all angles. Total aggression. The same 36-old representative of the lone district of Sarangani, Manny Pacquiao.
The target was this man in black and gold trunks– a target that was never a standing one. He has the Boxing IQ edge. The ever famous “shoulder roll” defense will be forever his arsenal. He has the ability to adjust round by round. He masters the art of frustrating his foes. Facing an offensive maestro, he did his thing. He ran. He clinched. He stayed away from the ropes. He locked Manny’s head while throwing heavy blows on the body. He had his antics. His cheap shots were evident. The Champ from Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao kept doing his things. Mayweather did Mayweather things. The fight went the distance. Floyd was giving some fists to the air in the last 10 seconds, being confident that the victory was already in his bag.
And Floyd did win. That, Ladies and Gents, was the Fight of the Century.
EDSA for a while declared vehicular ceasefire. Robbers, snatchers and other criminal syndicates extended their lunch break. We, Filipinos, were united and excited. But all excitement turned into heartbreak. Our faces were not the nicest sight.
I felt like crying. My Filipino pride was mourning inside. “Si Pacquiao na nga lang ang meron tayo, talo pa,” I told myself. Lunch was served, but everybody seemed to lose his appetite. Ang hirap tanggapin nung pagkatalo. It was supposed to be a Cinderella story. A fairy tale. A story with underdogs being beaten but strives hard to beat all odds. The plot was for Manny to win. But, he didn’t. Pang-asar yung istorya. Ang KJ. Yung villain ang nanalo. Tss. Bulok. Sakit. Aray.
With those emotions so high and the morale so low, I couldn’t help myself but to walk back the timeline and take a look at what our Champ has accomplished.
Year 2008 was his last step to the Super Featherweight Division. Round 13 of the Pacquiao-Marquez in 2004. A fight so close that was decided by a 3rd round knockdown– the sole difference in that fight. Split victory for Manny. Our hero was also left physically beaten. He took a lot of hard blows. I can bravely say, had he not scored a knockdown, he probably lost the fight. But he won, he did score that deciding punch that put Marquez to the floor. A magical punch that opened the doors of Boxing Hall of Fame for him to enter.
So you thought that Barrera victory in San Antonio was the turning point of his career? Think again. After that Marquez 2 win, Manny started to become a nightmare to any fighter, to any champion– ANY CHAMPION OF WHATEVER WEIGHT DIVISION. From Featherweight to Lightweight, he beat David Diaz so bad turning him into a bloody mess. Not yet impressive? Okay. Britain’s Champ was put to sleep after 2 rounds. Miguel Cotto got the same beating leading to a deformed face as he had with Margarito, but Pacquiao won without any aid of something in his gloves. That guy Margarito also turned into a human punching bag despite having all the physical advantages. Damn. Oh wait! The Golden Boy. You know it. You know what happened to him.
Man, that 8-division World Championship gave me sighs of relief. No one can beat that, I tell you.
You wouldn’t hear me oppose the judges’ decision. I actually had my virtual scorecard at 7 rounds to 5 in favor of Floyd. My patriotic spirit says Manny really won and that I should join the bandwagon shouting that he was robbed. But reality is, he really lost the fight. But does that matter? No. A BIG NO.
Floyd went up facing the crowd, as if saying, “How do you like me now?” But he was not liked. He was showered with boo’s and other expressions of disgust. He was the winner, but Manny is still the Champion. He has been, and will always be. We came to realize that Champions are made, and not decided by an anticipated fight– no matter how expensive it is.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. said that he is the American Dream. I shall contradict. Not even close. But a man who offers everything to God, a man who unites a nation and carries them even with an injured shoulder, a man who inspires every single person on this planet, is the man we didn’t see coming– THE FILIPINO DREAM.