Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (Copyrights belong to The Independent)
July 20, 2019–Manny Pacquiao remains! The forty-year-old legendary boxer rules as he defeats the ten-year younger Keith Thurman, who before the boxing bout at MGM has zero-loss record. He knocked him out in the first round, which obviously pushed the latter to fight harder until round twelve. Although the decision wasn’t unanimous, many sport analysts and sportsmen believed that it was Pacman’s night. And of course, the Filipino here (in me) agrees.
However, let me be honest with you, being a big fan of Pacquiao, I was hoping he’d retire following victory after victory. Undoubtedly, he already made a great fortune and achieved tremendous fame–he had nothing to prove more. It was out of my concern for his health. I thought of another favorite, the great late Muhammad Ali and other boxing champions and their physical challenges in their later lives. I even wondered if his wife, Jinky and their family were even worried for him at all?
But after watching him fight tonight, I realized Pacquiao is just giving in to his passion and calling. Surely he knows the risks; but he is fighting, simply because he still can. Perhaps he’s not worried of the effect on his cognitive function or overall health coz he believes that his utmost purpose, is to inspire the Filipino people and be our role model. Perhaps he doesn’t mind if one day, his body would pay the price of his success.
Our sad reality is: We came from our third world country. We are ever embattled not only by yearly calamities, but likewise of corruption and chronic politics. Unemployment and underpaid employment are embedded in our system. Many of our people have left and migrated to different countries in hopes of greener pastures. And where is Pacquiao in all of these? His success speaks of courage to pursue our dreams and what we love the most; To give our hearts to our passion and do our best; and let the Almighty take care of the rest. Also, the key to poverty is perseverance. Never to dwell–and be bitter–on what we can’t do; but to die hard–with a smile–in what we are good in doing. What a man! What a virtuous man! I am so proud of Man.
Regardless, we know our humble man’s story of a true classic rags to riches. Yet amid his hard earned fortune, Pacquiao remained God-fearing, kind and lighthearted to this day. His generosity and philanthropy are ever unquestionable. He improved many lives; from his family, to relatives and inner circle, to the people in his home town of Saranggani, and the entire Filipino citizenry.
Personally, in my journalism stint back home, I met and shook Manny’s hands when I was covering the Malacañang Palace during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I even worked with some of his publicists too. And to my greatest recollection, Pacquiao never failed to pay courtesy visit right after his bouts. He was always smiling, ever charismatic and approachable to all. What was more impressive? He wore no sign of exhaustion and never swaggering.
Lastly, to us, Filipinos around the globe, Pacquiao is a hero even before his bout with Thurman. For decades, he is a relentless achiever. He inspires his countrymen. He serves his country. He brings his people pride and glory. Even the sports community believes, he is legendary. With these being said, I think it’s long overdue to have a statue of Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao in gloves and short. It would be a great sight to see his monument there in Luneta with Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. I hope the Congress would make it happen. I hope our legislative governments would a pass a bill recognizing Pacquiao for his achievements. He deserves it. I also think he is deserving of Nobel’s Peace Prize too. Because, when Manny fights, it’s zero crime and no traffic—nationwide—in the Philippines. He deserves more than applause and hero’s welcome.
Maraming salamat, Pacquiao. Mabuhay ka!
YouTube/Manny Pacquiao/Para Sa’yo Ang Laban Na ‘To