THE result was controversial but this verdict is unanimous: Pacquiao was tired. He’ll turn 40 next Dec. 17. The past year, he’s been busy crafting Senate laws and not busy crafting his punching paws.
Round 9 was the bout’s most crucial stage. Horn looked wobbly. His legs were rickety and wavering; his mind was unsteady. The Pacquiao of 2010 would have feasted on Horn like he were an Australian tenderloin steak. He’d have battered and pulverized him. Like Mike Tyson, our Pinoy would have hammered the enemy for a KO.
Instead, Pacquiao employed a different KO: Kulang Offense. In Round 10, just as we all stood up (like we did in the house of Ray and Letty Patuasi), what did we witness instead from Pacquiao’s last three rounds? Same old, same old.
Had Manny won those last nine minutes —which he should have, after that Round 9 near-stoppage—he’d have retained the WBO crown. Why? Because while judge Waleska Roldan still would have given the win for Horn; the score for Chris Flores would have been 114-all while Ramon Cerdan would have scored 115-113, in favor of Pacquiao. Given this draw scenario, the champ retains the belt. In summary: Manny should have won the fight had he not been exhausted in the last three rounds.
My thoughts? First, I think “hambugero and kompyansya ra kaayo si” Manny with this bout. He was dismissive of the Australian, belittling him as a nobody. If this were chess (and Manny loves chess), he used Horn as a pawn for a future clash against Mayweather or Marquez. What he didn’t realize was the pawn was huge; always pushing, head-butting him multiple times to unleash that torrent of blood; that Horn wasn’t awed or scared of the 51,000 in attendance; that he had nothing to lose and Horn was relaxed and at home, comfortably sleeping in his own Brisbane bed surrounded by his family and townmates.
In contrast, Manny looked small, physically and figuratively. He was pushed, elbowed, and shoved to the ropes.
Pacman forgot that his opponent was nicknamed Hornet. By nature, the hornet is an insect that doesn’t just float around the garden like a harmless butterfly. The hornet stings and bites. Based on Wikipedia, “Hornets are often considered pests, as they aggressively guard their nesting sites when threatened.”
Jeff The Hornet was a pest to Pacman, aggressively guarding his nesting site called Brisbane, Australia.
But as sad as the loss was to Manny, I consider it a blessing-in-disguise for the Senator, the man who vowed to retire from boxing while he campaigned. Why a blessing? Because had he won, his boxing ego would have enlarged and he’d consider three more fights. What if — and let’s remember that boxing is a brutal and bloodthirsty game — he’d be injured so bad as to cause lasting damage? With the loss, Pacquiao is down to either of two choices: retire or revenge.
I’d seek revenge. But only for one last time. And since it will be his very, very, very last alternation, Manny should come home. Forget the money. Do it for the Filipinos. So here’s the plan:
Dec. 17, 2017.
That’s a Sunday.
Venue: the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, larger than Suncorp Stadium.
One last victory to celebrate his birthday.