SPORTS pundits, columnists, ordinary kibitzers and the public -- in general --humiliated Joshua Clottey no end for losing to Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao via the full routes.
Much acidly, with no knockdowns or stream of blood flowing freely from the face of Manny's latest victim. To them, seeing Clottey withstand the Pacman's Appetite for Destruction is like eating one's favorite dish on the table with one "very important" single ingredient sorely missing.
Yes, we understand. Every Pacman fight--with all his might, power and fearsome reputation--should be bloody and messy for his poor opponent to take, and with the pompous word "stoppage" as the final encore.
Even the female fans want blood, if not total wreck, to every Pacman victory. Our female reporter Annabelle Ricalde and former colleague Maricel Casiño-Rivera, who is now chief media liaison of Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno, both disliked in the way Clottey survived the usual mayhem in Pacquiao's deadly arsenal.
"T'was no longer boxing," Miss Ricalde hissed. "It seems Clottey forgot to punch at all," nodded Madame Maricel on her Facebook interaction with friends.
Well, fine. Come hell or high water, who wouldn't want blood, in the first place, when the topic or the event flashed before our eyes is the cruel sport some would cleverly refer to as the "sweet science" called boxing.
For this, I viewed the anti-Clottey critics as like wild animals going after a piece of the Ghanian fighter's overcooked flesh, hehehe.
Clottey's refusal to mix it out with today's greatest boxer in the planet has eventually earned for him a negative mark in the eyes of the boxing world.
And that's because we're not perfect. And so the world that we live in.
Like in chess, the aggressor, the so-called "wild-attacking mad man" or those inately possessed with the kind of devil-may-care attitude are always readily appreciated, blindly worshipped and passionately glorified.
In his prime, the devastating `Iron Mike' and now the "Baby Tyson", if not the "Filipino Assassin" in Pacman for boxing. In the same mold with Mikhail Tal and Alexander Alekhine, and their great followers Alexie Shirov and Garri Kasparov--all attacking genius--in the world of arts, science and mathematics rolled into one called chess.
Only the braves will be rewarded, if we are to para-phrase an old adage. Sweeping emotion, ready to blow, quick on the trigger, killer outburst. So on and so forth. Aren't this kind of fancied qualities about human innuendos quite very familiar to the mother and father of all lies?
Hey, don't get me wrong here. We'll not talk about religion, eternity and the Other Side. "I was only joking my friend..," to borrow some words from British rockstar Rod Stewart.
The boxing world, biased and merciless as it may, simply detest and dislike a "smart ass" that is Joshua Clottey.
His face and total package may have resembled the sad state of Africa--darkened through ages of wicked poverty.
In fact, not a few in a pre-dominantly Christian country like the Philippines would even love to tease Clottey as a pre-historic animal in the wild jungles of Africa.
"Ngitngit pa sa alkitran. Dulom pa sa gabii nga walay bitoon." Words like these. Indeed, heartless, unrelenting remarks.
But the Grandmaster (as Clottey is honored by moniker) refused to have his face tattooed by a barrage of Pacman's vicious punches. In the same manner that he refused to snake in the path taken by the badly beaten Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto among the boxing greats.
True to form, Clottey does a Grandmaster move. Only that he executes a Vladimir Kramnik or a Peter Leko maneuver--gahi, kunat, lig-on, tugas, di matarog. A Kasparov or a Shirov kind of fighting mood is simply not just to his own liking or preference.
Even the moneyed ones who are superbly kunat (gahi moku-ot) are often avoided like a plague by a party group of friends. A hateful sight to behold, to say the least. Like Clottey whose sneak of sparing blows in that boring match off the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas can be counted only by the fingers. Walang kabuhay-buhay, as the blood-sniffing boxing moguls would say.
Me-judge, however, I believe that Clottey wants more in that fight where Manny's WBO welterweight title is at stake.
Africa's own boxing hero, who is known for his granite chin, had seldom backstepped. He wants to be in charge by coming in forward yet cautiously biding his time. As Manny himself revealed after his unanimous decision win, Clottey just waited for the right time to unleash, if possible, the winning punch that could clothe him all the way--the biggest upset win in boxing history.
But Manny was just too busy unloading explosive blows from virtually all angles that it would be impossible for Clottey to decide when the right time and perfect timing for him to cut loose.
Speed and power decides for the small guy that is Manny. Smart defense and sense of danger made up for the big yet overpowered man that is Clottey to survive hitting the canvas.
When our time comes to lose, we should learn how to be contented and accept defeat with great humility.
Humble as he is, after the smoke of battle cleared, that's simply what made extra-careful Clottey ticks for me.