Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fernando: Pacquiao’s struggle to quit


BOXING is like an addiction. Once the body gets used to it, it becomes part of the system. It will take time and process for one to let go of it.

Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s decision to step in the ring after announcing his retirement is not a surprise. Many athletes had done the same. Mayweather also announced his retirement before but came back to feel that taste of victory again. Some boxing analysts say that financial consideration motivated the senator’s come back in the boxing ring. But it was the yearning of the man’s body to do what he has been doing for the past two decades that prompted his decision.

Pacman was remarkable in his comeback fight against Argentinian strong puncher Lucas Mathysse. Many sports analysts, however, belittle the win because Mathysse do not belong to the class of Crawford and Lomachenko.

Nevertheless, Pacquaiao showed that he has still the strength and the speed to knock out a champion. Mathysse according to some is tailored-made to the return of Pacquiao. Pacquiao must win and the win must be spectacular. He did not fail the spectators.

Pacquiao came back because his body longed for it. He yearned for that adrenalin rush that only boxing can give him. Many observers questioned Pacquiao’s decision to fight again. Money was not the issue. He was already a senator of the country and it could be assumed that he has everything already.

But why fight again? It is only boxing that could satisfy Pacquiao.

Being a businessman and a senator (or even a presidential candidate in the future) are only afterthoughts of his success in the ring. When he was starting as a boxer, he has nothing in mind but compete and win.

Every time he got a win, it was a celestial moment for him because with the win came the money to help his family. For Pacquiao the world is the boxing ring. It is the place where life goes on.

Most of his life he has only known boxing. His body was trained to box and his mind was trained to compete. It was the routine. He would train for a couple of months and then fight. This was the life of Manny Pacquiao for many years.

Then he got distracted. He got into show business, financial business, and politics. His focus and mindset changed. He lost some fights and even changed his religious denomination. Motivated by fame, he ventured into politics. He became a congressman and now a senator. Pacquiao’s life took a turn. He was happy because all of this were part of his dream, to survive and climb the top. Fame, money, and respect were there. He could have hung up his gloves considering all these achievements. But why did he go back to the training camp?

The body cannot be betrayed. When Pacquiao settled and found time to be with himself, he felt the yearning of his body and the calling of his mind to fight again. They were pulling him back to the boxing ring, the only place where he could find happiness and satisfaction.

A boxer is always a boxer. There are only few things that could change a person entirely. It is not money or fame because these can only provide temporary happiness. The satisfaction they give do not last. Sadly sometimes, even family cannot stop a person’s desire to feel complete.

His wife and beloved mother Dionisia have been asking Pacquiao to stop fighting because he has already achieved his dreams. But though Pacquiao puts high regard to his family, it was not easy for him to reject the desire of his body. It is like an addiction. Once you get used to it, the body yearns for it badly. Unless you can divert this yearning to something more valuable, this yearning goes on and on.

Some analysts may be correct. Pacquiao may have chosen Mathysse because he knew he could demolish him just like what he did. The win could make his return legitimate. It is now happening. The big names in boxing are now thinking to give Pacquiao a real fight, a fight that could put Pacquiao in a dangerous situation. But this is what Pacquiao wanted. He felt he was still the 28 year old fighter who puts opponents into the canvass. His mind keeps on telling him this especially after the win and the body like agrees.

His mind will always tell him that he has still a lot left in his tank.

The real danger lies here.

Despite the positive thinking of the mind, there will come a time that the body could not cope. Many observers saw the deterioration of Pacquiao’s footwork and speed although the fight seemed showed the contrary.

One writer said that Pacquiao’s victory is both a blessing and a curse.

It was a blessing because he has felt that excitement of winning again and proved his detractors wrong. It was a curse because the next time he steps on the ring, he will surely face a greater challenger. Crawford and Lomachenko are names mentioned to be his possible opponents in the future. These two belong to a class that Pacquiao once held in his prime.

If any of them face Pacquiao, it could be a hell of a fight and Pacquiao will be the underdog.

Pacquiao could not quit because he just could not. He does not know how to quit the stage that has given him all the love in the world. Only acceptance can make him stop. Yet for the great honor he has given this country, let us understand his lust for glory. It was not his fault. His mind and body were used to it and he just could not resist.

So let the legend fight now that he has still the strength and speed to bring down opponents. Let the man enjoy his time in the ring knowing that the entire country is behind his every blow. When the time comes that he finally hang up those gloves, happiness will hardly find the legend.


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