People are still talking about the #PacquiaoMayweather fight. Some can’t seem to move on because all the pre-fight hype didn’t live up to their expectations. I admit I’m one of those people, and I have a few things I want to get off my chest.
1. First, wanting something different from what I was expecting is normal. Just because I expected Floyd to win doesn’t mean I betrayed PacMan or my own people. I’ve read about (not watched) Floyd’s past bouts (from which I gathered he doesn’t play nice), and saw the tale of the tape. That’s why I posted online that I was nervous, and that we needed a miracle for Manny to win. I really, really *wanted* Manny to make Floyd bleed a little (for all the victims of domestic violence), and cheered when he drew first blood… and hoped for a knockout down to the last 10 seconds. But I didn’t expect Floyd to use his physical advantages to run & clinch his way till the end, nor did I expect that he had a lot on his side (Manny was also fighting against a referee who didn’t call out a lot of head-holding by Floyd, and judges who didn’t even care to label the score card Red and Blue corners properly). Floyd played so as not to lose, but Manny fought to win: so Manny gets an A+ for effort in my book. I happen to love underdogs, but I also know that life isn’t always ideal or fair, and we can’t always get what we want.
2. Don’t ever call Floyd “Gay”weather. Homophobia is never cool nor acceptable. Same rule applies if you pick on Floyd’s skin color: don’t even go there. In my frustration I created the #Mayhugger tag, just to express how I didn’t like that Floyd wasted time holding Manny and often used his elbows to hit Manny while doing so. I meant no offense to Olaf and other huggers (like me).
3. Most Filipinos are not sore losers. Yes, there are a few among us with foot-in-mouth disease, but generally speaking, we accept defeat graciously; it depends on who our champs lose to and how, I guess. We weren’t collectively pissed when Timothy Bradley defeated Manny—some of us even started cheering “Bradley, Bradley!” before the fight was over. Why? Because we’re suckers for underdogs and nice, humble people who fight clean, and fight well. Timothy Bradley was a champ too, both in and out of the boxing ring, so it wasn’t hard for us to cheer for him. As for Floyd… well, his domestic violence records don’t help his image at all. After the fight, I seriously wanted to ask Team Pacquiao: Was it really worth it, win or lose, to give so much money to a serial woman beater? That’s what really pisses me off, actually, that Manny agreed to the fight even though it was just blatantly all about the money for Floyd.
4. But boxing isn’t really about dark vs. light or good vs. evil. It’s a match sport. Some matches are perfect—both players come into the ring to give their all, and sometimes it gets emotional you’ll see grown men cry either for joy or grief while watching it. Like seeing works of art. Or watching a Rocky movie, except it’s for real. But with the match last May 2, all the hype just ended flat. Why? Because only one player was actually visually fighting, and that for me was Manny. Yeah, I can hear some saying: “But Floyd fought in the way he knew he would win.” To which I say: true enough, Floyd fought safe and for himself, not for the audience or fans who actually paid to see “The Fight of the Century.” Thanks to his strategy, it felt like a rip-off. And “fight of the century?” Please. I can name 5 other fights that were so much better than that, all in this century too. Excuse me if I will be skeptical of HBO or Mayweather Promotions from now on.
5. I now agree with my Hubby and many others who say that there should NOT be a rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Why? Aside from knowing that Floyd will just waste a good fight by running and clinching, I also don’t want to give a serial woman beater another cent. For Manny’s sake I’m glad we watched for free and didn’t use PPV, but still I know just watching the fight creates revenue for Mayweather. He’s already raked in $200M from this last fight. I just don’t want to see Manny’s name associated with a boxer who beats women ever again. Seriously, Pacquiao deserves a better fighting match than this.
6. Disclaimer: I’m not a boxing expert, just an aficionado. Growing up with 4 brothers and a dad who all love boxing and basketball, I loved watching awesome boxing matches on TV with the rest of my 100% Filipino family (most memorable to me were Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Hagler, Gerry Peñalosa vs. Jhonny Gonzales and ofcourse, all of Pacquiao’s fights). I fangirl over Mr. Gerry Peñalosa. I have dreamt of singing Lupang Hinirang for one of Manny Pacquiao’s fights. I think “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” is poetry. Which makes me wonder…
7. WHY indeed are we Filipinos fascinated by sports that are physically, naturally impossible for us to win? Take basketball, for instance. The average Filipino isn’t built for this game: we’re not tall enough for it, and yet there is a basketball court in every barangay. And how about Filipino athletes in ice-skating competitions—we don’t even have winter, for crying out loud. And boxing, where having longer arms are a necessity. And football/soccer where longer legs are a plus… Why can’t we give more attention to games where physical prowess isn’t a plus, and we can really have an advantage, like Chess? But alas, Wesley So, brilliant Filipino grandmaster, is now playing for the US Team because he can’t get enough support from the Philippines.
I guess we as a people like to take risks, and if it comes with dramatic flair, all the more so. We cheer whenever someone defies the odds and succeeds, especially in an emotionally-charged way. I guess it helps most of us forget our own troubles for awhile, and even gives many Filipinos hope that getting out of poverty and misery isn’t so impossible after all. Maybe that’s why the first mall in our country was named in honor of Muhammad Ali after his “Thrilla in Manila”. And why we celebrate when one of our own beats great odds in real life, like what Manny Pacquiao did and continues to do. And why someone, somewhere out there is sitting in front of a karaoke machine and belting out, “This is my quest / to follow that star / no matter how hopeless / no matter how far…” It makes us feel and hope that anything is possible.
And for a nation besieged by so many internal and external troubles, this hope of defying impossible odds helps to keep us all afloat.