The Power behind the Pacman

Manny PacquiaoBy Jasper Hernandez: Dubai, UAE --- On Sunday morning, the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2) delivered yet again an emphatic victory to take the IBO & Ring Magazine light welterweight crown from Britain’s Ricky Hatton (45-2). Although a 2-1 favorite, Pacman still shocked the boxing pundits by producing a scintillating and overwhelming performance over the Brit, who is regarded as one of the top pound-for-pounders and no. 1 light welterweight of the world. Pacquiao was so dominating and destructive that he made the Hitman looked like an amateur to finish him in the 2:59 mark in Round 2 after dropping him twice in the first round with his vaunted barrage of punches.

Not even the die-hard Pacquiao fans, including me, could have seen that the end will be as short and brutal as what we had expected to be an even match up between the two warriors. There was no doubt that Pacquiao will win in my mind but it surprised me on how he did it.

It was an anti-climactic ending to a build-up that started from the negotiating table as early as January 2009 up to the fight night.. You could have built a library with the countless articles written, or a lengthy documentary of all the videos of training and interviews from both camps, and the opinions of so-called boxing experts. After all the talks, it was finished in 6 minutes of boxing. And nobody saw it coming, except maybe Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach. 
I have been reading everything written about Pacquiao since he had beaten Dela Hoya in December 2008. While he has been the most popular figure in the Philippines since becoming a world champion 8 years ago, I was amazed to find out that Manny has been adored by the boxing writers and fans outside our country.

In January 2009, Bob Arum, big boss of Top Rank, confirmed that the Hatton-Pacquiao bout is a done deal already, although there had not been anything official yet. However, weeks after, there were reports that the negotiation is falling apart due to the disagreement over split of the purse. Pacquiao, after handily beating the Golden Boy the month before, was asking for 60-40 share. Meanwhile, Hatton camp is asking for a 50-50 split. Both laid their arguments as to why they should receive their fair share.

This led to the first war of words between both camps. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy called Pacquiao, childish and arrogant. Pacquiao in retaliation called Schaefer, a bad businessman. Both parties seemed to be at ease that the fight will not push through. Rumor has it that Pacquiao lowered his offer to 55-45 but Hatton and Co. did not budge and insisted at an even split. Golden Boy Promotions even made an official announcement that the megafight will not push thru, but, of course both parties blinked and they reached a midway at 52-48.

Whew! That was exciting, wasn’t it?

That was the unofficial start of the promotion of bout and the fight was on again and the start of the Floyd Mayweather Sr.-Freddie Roach Show.

Mayweather and Roach are two of the most recognized trainers in the world having trained notable fighters of our generation, including the top names like Mike Tyson, Oscar dela Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Sr. was back with Hatton after their successful debut last year against Paulie Malignaggi. While the usual tandem of Roach and Pacquiao on their 8th year was doing their 19th fight and gunning a 5th division championship together.

Joy Mayweather wasted no time to start the hostilities by discrediting the accomplishments of his counterpart, and even called him a “joke coach” and declaring himself the greatest “not this time, that time, but of all time”. Roach, the multi-awarded trainer, was quick to retort that it his counterpart who has not done anything. Both men made bold predictions that the fight will not last more than 3 rounds, declaring their wards will knockout the other.

HBO could not be happier as both American coaches wildly swing insults at each other and their rival’s fighters which made watching 24/7 series more fun and interesting to watch. It could have been boring had these two outspoken trainers were like Pacquiao and Hatton who hardly says something bad about the other.

Come fight night, it was time for Manny’s and Ricky’s fists to do the talking. All the talk that Hatton have developed a boxing technique was certainly non-evident, his hand speed is the same, and no head movement. And we all knew that this all contributed to his devastating loss. All along Roach was serious in calling a 3rd round stoppage. This did not exactly happen but I don’t think he will feel bad about it either.

Pacquiao is such an enigmatic icon especially for us Filipinos. Whenever you will hear his interviews, he is foolishly repeating that he is fighting for the honor of the country. Well, everybody can say that but putting it in your heart is a whole different story. This is what sets apart a true champion like Manny, his mission.

I believe he is born to do this and he is serving his purpose now. That is why he is so blessed. No wonder he is called a phenomenon. He is fulfilling his mission to make his countrymen proud, and be an inspiration to many that you can succeed with hardwork and belief in God. How can anyone win against a guy who gets his energy from 80 million people and an inexhaustible energy that links the whole world which is GOD.

During a post-fight interview, Manny even reminded Bob Arum “don’t forget GOD” before the latter called the Filipino the “greatest boxer who ever lived”. Putting him side by side with the recognized “the Greatest”, Muhammad Ali.

It is quite amusing to have this observation that Manny’s real name is Emmanuel, which was the name of Jesus Christ and Muhammad Ali, who is the namesake of the Chosen Prophet.

Just a thought: Maybe they are really the chosen ones.

Article posted on 05.05.2009

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