THE whole nation once again gleams with pride and honor as our People's Champ, Manny Pacquiao, proved himself to the entire world, that he is not the pound-for-pound king for nothing. Now being tagged as the "future hall of famer" in the boxing arena, Pacquiao shut off the young Keith Thurman in a still thrilling fight last Sunday, taking home the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight championship via a split decision.
At 40 years old, he did it again. Yes, he won again. But there are some things that must be said about his performance. I couldn't agree more with Cliff Rold, as he stated in his afterthoughts: "Don't let the drama of the evening fool you. Pacquiao didn't really turn back the clock. While he threw almost a hundred punches more than had been the case in recent decision outings, it was still shy of the activity he kept in his prime. No, instead of turning back the clock it was the latest reminder Pacquiao hasn't gone anywhere yet. He's aged. He's not old yet. At least, not too old to still be Manny Pacquiao."
Which brings me back to an old column I wrote in November 2010 titled "Should that be Pacquiao's last boxing match?" which goes:
Pacman's rise to the boxing hall of fame is indeed one of the greatest stories in the world of sports. Coming from a poor family in General Santos City, our boxing hero used to sell pandesal around town to help the family's income. Together with a childhood friend, Pacquiao tried amateur boxing, winning P100 for every match. This is more than double of what he earned selling bread, this is why he decided to pursue this career however dangerous it may be.
And the rest as they say, is history. From an amateur boxer, he grabbed his first world title in 1998 after knocking out Thailand's Chatchai Sasakul in the eighth round. Pacquiao's "Mexican-killing" stint started after he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003. He continued to fight famous Mexican boxers such as Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar Larios and Jorge Solis with only one loss and one draw. In the succeeding years, Pacquiao's opponents whom he overpowered one by one included US's David Diaz and Oscar Dela Hoya, UK's Ricky Hatton and Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto. In 2009 alone, Pacquaio is said to have earned a total of $40 million.
Many are also agreeing with the Pacman's mother, Aling Dionisia, who is said to be convincing Manny to retire from boxing in consideration of his health.
In a separate interview as well, his wife Jinkee has revealed that Manny suffers not only bruises and aching ribs, but also has a darkly-colored pee after a fight. Boxing is really one of the most dangerous sports, which can possibly result to ailments like Parkinson's Disease like what happened to the boxing legend Muhammad Ali, or other brain infections such as what happened to Z Gorres.
Pacquiao, I think, has proven himself already. Having won his latest fight against Margarito while juggling time in between training and his work as a Sarangani representative, he is definitely an icon not only in the country but also in the international scene as well. While I admit that we are all entertained whenever he has a big fight in the US, Manny can now start making politics his number one priority to bring hope and alleviate poverty in the Philippines.
Nay, he will always go back to boxing.