Sunday, November 14, 2010
THE AMAZING MANNY PACQUIAO
Manny Pacquiao dazzled millions of fans when he pummeled Mexican Antonio Margarito in last night’s fight in Arlington, Texas.
In our Alexandria, Virginia apartment complex, the front desk people bent their towing curfew rules by allowing guests of Pinoy residents to stay past midnight so they can watch the fight and celebrate Pacquiao’s win.
“I’m sure Pacquiao will win,” said Lynn, the front desk in our building, assuring my nephew and his mom.
The Pacman’s popularity has grown beyond being the Philippine’s pride or even that of the boxing world; he’s become a kitchen name among many Americans.
Earlier in the day, some Fil-Am friends complained they couldn’t find anyone willing to take a wager against Pacquiao, even among Mexicans.
Sure, we’ve become accustomed to his lightning speed, flurried punches, impossible angles and fighting heart.
But 31-year-old Pacquiao, the rags-to-riches hero to many, seems to leave added dimensions after every fight.
He clearly dominated Margarito from the get-go, carving a unanimous victory on the judges’ scorecards (120-108, 119-109 and 118-110).
Pacquiao captured his eighth title in as many weight divisions.
“It was a virtuoso performance,” wrote Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press.
“Pacquiao was magnificent and this was a masterclass,” blogger Gareth Davies wrote on Telegraph.co.uk.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated paid homage to the Pinoy pugilist’s “indomitable force”.
CBS correspondent Bob Simon noted in his report that Pacquiao “has a global influence now that extends far beyond the borders of his beloved homeland.”
“For Floyd Mayweather Jr. who has already given every indication he wants no part of a Pacquiao fight, Margarito’s condition is another nightmare reminder of the fear keeping him up at night,” declared Lance Pugmire of Chicago Breaking Sports.
Near the end of the 12-rounder, my sister-in-law Emma asked if Pacquiao would not take pithy on Margarito, perhaps expressing her own concern while watching close-up shots of the Mexican boxer’s corner working feverishly to close a big cut below his right eye.
We laughed her off of course. This was boxing, perhaps the most violent sport. There’s a reason it’s called a “blood sport”.
But Pacquiao appear to bear her out on the penultimate round.
He seemed to be carrying Margarito, holding back, and throwing only enough to ensure he won the last round as well.
When they held each other in the middle of the ring for what felt like a long time in Round 11, we imagined Pacquiao telling Margarito he’s fought gallantly but it was over, and there would be no indignity if he didn’t answer the bell for the last round.
“Look at his eyes, look at his cuts,” Pacquiao was quoted as imploring the referee.
"I did not want to damage him permanently,” Pacquiao later explained, “That's not what boxing is about."
Wrote Kevin Mitchell on The Guardian, “In the final round, Pacquiao, maybe for the only time in his career, went through the motions, unwilling to inflict further punishment, just doing enough to secure the win.”
He echoed our own sentiments. We knew Pacquiao could have rearranged his opponent’s face even more, a deserved payback perhaps for the way Margarito and his retinue disrespected him and coach Freddy Roach before the fight.
But he did not.
“It was an act of subtle compassion,” Mitchell added, “He is a great champion, perhaps an even greater human being.”
And so Manny Pacquiao in beating Antonio Margarito showed another, perhaps more laudable and inspiring dimension to an already storied boxing career.