Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Enough already

This was my column on the date indicated above.

As expected, the whole Philippines stayed home to root and cheer for Emmanuel Pacquaio last Sunday. He won, of course. We’ve gotten used to the idea of the The Pacman winning that losing to Antonio Margarito was simply unthinkable. A loss just didn’t seem like an option particularly since everyone in the world other than the Mexicans have placed his bet on the The Pacman.

The win earned Pacquiao his eighth title—the World Boxing Council super welterweight belt. It was also his 13th consecutive win.

Immediately after his victory, people started expressing their desire to see The Pacman go up against the flamboyant Floyd Mayweather.

The Internet buzzed with taunts and counter-taunts from both sides barely minutes after the fight. The Pacman’s supporters mocked Mayweather, virtually calling him a coward. Most of the taunts ridiculed Mayweather as “less of a man;” some people said Mayweather should put on some pants and give up wearing skirts. Others were less subtle; they used racist, bigoted, and discriminatory words to describe Mayweather from fairy, to faggot, to pansy, etc. Why some people automatically equate cowardice with being gay or being a woman is beyond me.

Like most Filipinos, I also think Mayweather is full of hot air. However, I do not think we should go out of our way to instigate a fight between the two.

I don’t know if it is just me; I’m hoping there are other people out there (aside from Dionisia Pacquiao at least) who also think that it’s time The Pacman retired from boxing. I am hoping that last Sunday’s fight would be his last.

I am not exactly an expert in boxing, but it seemed pretty clear to me last Sunday that while The Pacman did show the qualities that make him the best boxer in the world today, he also looked vulnerable. He looked tired and less invincible halfway through the fight. And I don’t think this can be disputed: He suffered a lot in that fight. We all saw the pictures after. We’ve read about the injuries to his ribs and fingers. He had to be helped to stand up and walk during the thanksgiving mass and during the press conference.

It’s time for him to quit boxing. It’s a good time for him to hang up his boxing gloves.

I think The Pacman has nothing else to prove. He is on top of the world. His record is difficult to replicate. It will probably take a long time before any other boxer can surpass his achievements in the ring. He is widely recognized as a promising congressman.

It is time for The Pacman to reinvent himself. I think the sportsmanship and the compassion he showed on the ring (and after the fight when he visited Margarito in his locker room to check on his condition) when he refused to “finish” Margarito off at the last round proved that the man has matured considerably. I thought it was very statesman-like of him when he said that he didn’t want to hurt Margarito. He was quote as saying “I did not want to damage him permanently; that’s not what boxing is about” to justify why he held off in the last round.

We all know boxing is the most brutal sports in the world. What sets it apart from all other sports is that it is the only one where athletes score by directly hitting an athlete’s body. I still think that boxers should be made protective gears but I guess I comprise a minority; there are just too many people out there who insist that protective gears take away the very things that make boxing exciting and challenging.

To Congressman Pacquiao: Congratulations, you made the Filipinos proud again. It is time for you to be serious about your role as a representative of the people of Saranggani province.

***

I never thought it would come so early in the life of this administration. I knew it was bound to happen at some point because let’s face it, media in this part of the world do have the predilection to accentuate the negative. We’re just wired that way, I guess. It seems it is innate for us to notice areas for improvement rather than what works; we find it easier to point out the mistakes rather than give praise for the accomplishments.

But I still think President Aquino’s recent gripes against media were uncalled for. Media may have ceased doing cartwheels about him and his administration but the criticism hurled in his direction has continued to be relatively tame. In short, most media people are still holding their punches. Most still want to give him and his people the benefit of the doubt. So his diatribe against the media makes him look like a spoiled brat. What is he complaining about, really?

I also find his annoyance over intrusion into his lovelife quite unnatural. The way I see it, this was all part of the package. He is a bachelor considered by most Filipinos as part of their lives—it is natural for everyone to speculate about who he is seeing, whether there is someone special in his life now, when he is settling down. Which bachelor in this country does not get asked the same questions by family members in every family occasion? It’s not that people want to intrude into his personal life (I will not even go into whether his lovelife is “personal” to begin with given the fact that he is the President), it’s just part of our culture. It may be wrong, but most of us equate being responsible, being “settled,” and being at peace with getting married.

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