Batuhan: Show me the Manny-A A +A
Saturday, June 16, 2012
DAYS before the celebration of our national independence, our sovereignty and national pride took a severe beating.
No, the Chinese have not invaded Scarborough Shoals. But they might as well have run over Luzon Island for all we cared. Because the embarrassment we took was far more painful than a Chinese rout over our tiny armed forces could ever inflict.
You see, in any skirmish against the Chinese, we are never expected to last very long.
Against their modern fighter planes, our vintage tora-toras don’t stand a chance. And with their aircraft carriers, our hand-me-down American patrol boats would be at the bottom of the China Sea before we could even say “Yao Ming.”
But this was a battle we were expected to win big time. Which is what made the whole tragedy doubly more embarrassing.
Yes, I am talking about that day. Black Sunday. A welt in our collective Filipino eye.
Because on that shameful day in Las Vegas, our man, our redemeer, our national fist, suffered an ignominious setback. Oh yes, I am talking about the great one. The one who could not lose. The greatest ever. The best pound-for-pound fighter the world has ever seen. The one without equal. Manny the “Pac-Man” Pacquiao.
But how could this be? This was not in the script, surely? And that’s why the entire nation howled “foul.” Hell, even the entire world yelled “no way.” The man is a legend. And legends do not lose.
Or do they?
Of course they do. When they conveniently forget the stuff that made them legends. And worse, when they themselves start believing in their own legends. Manny was guilty on both counts.
I was watching the pre-fight specials on HBO, and already I could feel an upset brewing.
The episodes showed a focused and determined Timothy Bradley—hungry for his one minute of fame. He trained hard, put himself in tip-top shape to challenge the best man in the sport. In contrast, we saw an overconfident Manny, more interested in showing the world his Ferrari than his vaunted boxing prowess. The world never gave Bradley a chance. And so didn’t Manny.
The rest is now, as we like to say, tragic history. Worse than the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor combined. I was in the crowd, sitting in front of a large-screen cinema, and I could not believe the ringside announcer’s declaration of the winner. It wasn’t who I expected, but instead, it was his challenger’s name being called out. Bradley had won on the day.
It was indeed a controversial decision. Many Filipinos think it was “cooked.” But I
am not among them. For as big a Manny Pacquiao fan as I am, although I do not think Bradley won the fight, I am convinced Manny lost it big time.
Nobody comes to watch a Pacquiao fight expecting a decision. And neither do the judges. Everyone expects annihilation. And when it does not happen, Manny has already lost. Sad as it is, he brought the weight of great expectation on himself. This is his unique selling proposition. And without this, he would sooner be fighting in the steamy cockpits of General Santos City than in the glitzy arenas of Las Vegas.
In the return bout, Manny has to be the Manny of old. Lean and hungry. For this is what fans come out in their thousands to see. This is why he is paid millions and millions of dollars. To batter people into submission, and not only to eke out narrow decisions.
This time, Manny has got to show them the money!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2012.