The hero has moved onBy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The hero is a compelling mythic archetype in literature and movies: The champion who fights for the oppressed or a cause, hurdles challenges and adversity and then comes home triumphant.
To many Filipinos, Manny Pacquiao is that hero. Critics may sneer at his shortcomings or scoff at his achievements but the larger majority call him their champion.
His journey from a hungry youngster eager to box with anyone in Mindanao to his TV boxing show conquests was only the beginning. His US rise to fame started when the late boxing manager Rod Nazario brought him to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym and, in time, his star would shine in Las Vegas as a ring superstar.
Pacquiao is the Pinoy who bucked the odds and did well overseas. We like these success stories since there are so many others who take a chance to earn precious dollars abroad and remit them to their families. They may not earn the same money Pacquiao pockets but their journeys have similar strands.
And now this loss to Bradley. You can understand the outrage and the disappointment of those who idolize Pacman. Their hero had been wronged. Joining the fray lambasting the judging are boxing websites and the social media.
Print and broadcast news has been filled with stories and analyses of how the fight went and the calls for an investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Top Rank’s Bob Arum is also on the attack, leading the call for that inquiry. It doesn’t hurt Arum that he is already promoting the rematch by keeping the controversy in the news.
While everybody else is busy dissecting and analyzing, the hero has opted to say so much less. In the same way Fernando Poe Jr. and Clint Eastwood portrayed their screen hero roles, Pacquiao has allowed everyone else to talk, save for a short postfight declaration that he felt he won the fight but respected the decision. He has left the matter of a Bradley rematch to a future meeting between him and Arum.
Pacquiao has moved on, accepting the oddities and absurdities of his chosen sport and the unpredictability of a subjective assessment of his performance. The CompuBox count may have had him landing more punches but the judges do not look at the stats while evaluating ring performance. He disagrees with the sum of the count but has accepted the decision.
This is in contrast to what happened after the second Pacquiao fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Feeling he was denied victory, Marquez allowed his guard to go down, even going to Manila to dare Pacquiao for a third fight.
In the third encounter, passionate Mexicans did not ease the tension by wearing T-shirts at the MGM Grand declaring that Marquez was already robbed twice before.
After another close decision favored Pacquiao anew, Marquez did the right thing by not saying too much this time around and simply accepted the bitter outcome. Interestingly, Marquez even interviewed Pacquiao for his Golpe a Golpe (Blow for Blow) boxing show after the Bradley fight.
Pacquiao said, “Can I ask Marquez? Did I win the fight?” Marquez said yes, showing all and sundry that warriors understand this sport and all its idiosyncrasies.
In the same mold as the classic hero archetypes, Pacquiao will cool his heels while those around him prepare the battlefield for the next encounter. If the Bradley rematch happens as it should, expect Pacquiao to slam those gloves again and finish Bradley quickly. He won’t even allow CompuBox to work properly that night or allow the judges to scribble too many scores on their sheets.
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Tags: Manny Pacquiao