Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pinoy Record

Manny Pacquiao won his match against Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto. He made history by winning 7 titles in 7 weight divisions. He's now being considered among the greatest of all time. People want him to face Floyd Mayweather, Jr. next, in order to settle who this era's best really is. Manny gave a concert after his match. Krista Ranillo was a part of "Team Pacquiao" in the U.S. for some reason.

You know all these by now. Better writers have told you about it. Still, I must say, Pacquiao's performance was f**king amazing.

Manny came into the ring smiling and waving to the crowd. He was strutting to the tune of "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. That was the corniest song a boxer could have chosen as his entrance theme. But then again, he could have asked that his own songs be played. Yep, the "Rocky" theme was the lesser evil. Previous to his entrance, a cool video of Pacquiao highlights was shown to the tune of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."

Tune all this hoopla out, what could be clearly seen was a boxer who came to the fight knowing he wasn't going to lose. Perish the thought, he was telling everyone. Sure, he kept on harping that Cotto will be his most dangerous opponent. But Filipinos know we like our drama anchored on humility, unlike other cultures that find drama in trash-talking and boasting.

I've seen write-ups that say Miguel Cotto showed doubt in his face as he entered the ring to the sound of what I guess is a Puerto Rican rap song. I highly doubt that theory. What I saw was a man focused with the task at hand. During his face-off with Pacquiao while the referee was giving his final instructions, Cotto could have stared a hole on Pacquiao's head. Heck, he could have stared a hole to China.

And then the fight began. The first 3 rounds were furious. Both men gave each other a taste of their power. Pacquiao even dared Cotto to give him his best shots as Manny employed Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope strategy. Pacquiao was just unbelievable. But Cotto was great to watch, too. He gave as good as he got.

Then, in the 3rd, Cotto felt the power he had been hearing about. He was floored but he quickly got up again. But now he had doubts. Previous to that point, he never exhibited any.

In the 4th, he must have finally realized the viciousness of Manny's speed, which has devastated the biggest names in the business. Cotto showed hesitation after the first knockdown. A slight hesitation in a boxer can result in a barrage of punches from Pacquiao. The quick series of punches that must have felt like multiple baseball bat slugs before must have started to feel like a succession of sledgehammer blows. As Cotto's confidence dwindled, each shot must have been more painful than the last. Until Miguel's body told him he had to fall. That was when the fight ended. The match continued, but the battle was over.

For the next several rounds, Pacquiao hunted his prey, looking for that opening to put Cotto out of his misery. As a testament to Cotto, he still tried to fight back, at least until all he could do was run. The referee stopped it at the 12th round, though Cotto looked liked he deserved to have been spared of a beating earlier than that.

Pacquiao played butcher to Cotto's face, it wasn't a pretty sight. Cotto tried to put up a semblance of resistance after the 4th round knockdown but Cotto's defense allowed so much penetration that the rounds looked like a Hayden Kho video.

Pacquiao won. As usual, he thanked everyone he normally thanked, offered the match to the Filipino people, gave credit to the big G up there, shared the spotlight with his team and the political hangers-on, and in a new twist, invited people to watch his concert. (Manny is pride of the Philippines but I could think of better ways to spend $40 in Las Vegas, though.)

People are now screaming for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. If the money is right, it'll happen. 50-50 ought to do it. Anything less for Pacquiao, I say drop it. Just wait for the winner of the Shane Mosley-Andre Berto fight.

Mayweather needs Manny more than Manny needs Mayweather. Nobody is questioning Pacquiao's ability. Everyone is impressed with the Filipino's achievements. Floyd is the one in need of more glory. Mayweather can't accept the fact that Pacquiao is the one in the spotlight now. Mayweather needs attention, he craves for it, he lives off it.

But Floyd only has himself to blame for his current situation. Never mind the accusations of ducking top-caliber opponents throughout his career. Just look at his last fight. He made Juan Manuel Marquez blow himself up to his weight division in order to make the Mexican look like an amateur. That was a win, but did he actually think that would impress boxing fans? Was that the kind of fight that he thinks would catapult his name to where the likes of Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Henry Armstrong are?

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is upset. His ego is bruised. People are now singing praises to Pacquiao, making Floyd an afterthought. Pacquiao is adored by millions. Mayweather doesn't care if people like him. It's not his personality. He styles himself as a villain. He's a heel. As a big fan of professional wrestling, I understand heels. What they need is attention. If a heel wrestler doesn't get heat from the crowd, expect a pink slip from Mr. McMahon. To hate Mayweather is to love him. To not pay him any attention to him would kill him.

Manny Pacquiao is on top of the world once more. For a brief period of time, I will look past his attempt to become a singer. I will not mind his foray into acting. I will not even criticize his ambition to enter politics, at least verbally. He deserves a pass on these things, if only for a few days. Manny brought euphoria to a country that needs inspiration wherever it can get it, whether from a world boxing champion or a taxi driver that returned a bag of money. That's the least I can do. Consider it my act of nationalism.

I'll give myself a few weeks, then I'll start making fun of the idea of a "Wapakman" movie. Consider it my act of being a Filipino.

Thanks again, Manny!

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