May 3, 2009

Pacquiao's Biggest Blow

I cant' believe I went to see the fight! Pay-per-view, live telecast at my brother's house that was full of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

I'm not into sports, much less into boxing. But every bit of me didn't want to miss the historical fight. So early on Sunday morning, the family had to eat breakfast earlier than usual so we could go to my brother's house to watch on TV Pacquiao's fight in Las Vegas. Was it the nationalistic side of me or the curiosity of the hour? I guess it's more of the former because I knew that the latter would then be satisfied anytime I read the news or watch the replay. I was even moved sentimental during the national anthem that I wanted to rise from the couch and put my right hand on my chest.

I was actually in a room with other 'kababayan' (fellow countrymen), whom, many I don't know. I clapped and applauded on every successful punch. I even jumped throwing a pillow on the air on every KO, thrice for sure. The third jump was with shock and awe. It was a short and easy victory for millions of Filipinos, just a tick to finish the second round.... but leaving many to bitter disappointment... to those who expected more exchanges of blow and to the fans and camp of the opponent.

I can imagine how the Philippines is celebrating right now. Pacquiao is the hero of 90 million Filipinos. The country is again the largest crime-free zone for a day. Every time he fights, guns are silent and no registered reports of crimes. He is the uniter of Filipinos, as one sports commentator wrote. Even separatists and known terrorist groups would go down to the cities from their hideouts in the mountains in order to watch his fight. That's why the boxing hero said "I want to fight everyday for my country."

Much is said about the man. I know he will be on the headline news for few days and will be remembered for decades in the world of boxing and in the history of the Philippines. But there was one short statement he made that I hope people will remember: "Don't forget God."

When his boxing promoter, elated as among others, made a big statement about Pacquiao: "Manny is the greatest fighter who ever lived", he encouraged all athletes to be like Manny "He is already the best but he never stops learning and and getting better." Manny then interjected to tell the world "...and don't forget God". For me, that statement is his biggest blow and I pray it hit everyone. The world watched and hopefully heard him.

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