Vindication: A gentleman is born | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Vindication: A gentleman is born

/ 01:32 AM April 15, 2014

The first time Manny Pacquiao took a blazing right hand to the head from Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, he jetted face down to the floor.

The result was a lightless night journey, one of the most chilling knockouts in modern boxing.

Pacquiao took a similar right to the face on Sunday, but he hung tough to finish strong and reclaim his stolen WBO welterweight crown by unanimous decision.


His gaping eyebrow wound dripping red, Pacquiao also had the luxury of swooning “the [boxing] journey continues.”


It’s up, up and away, the legend lives on!

* * *

Anyway, it must also be told here that Pacquiao was lucky enough the right punch delivered from outside by Tim Bradley in the fourth round was only a poor relative, a distant cousin of the Marquez chiller right that stopped the eight-division world title winner cold on Dec. 8, 2012.

On Sunday, Bradley landed the haymaker as Pacquiao jumped over uncovered, but it was likely the American did not realize he had seriously shaken his fierce, fearless foe.

For the record, the Bradley right, with a slight resemblance to the spear-like Marquez killer blow, landed a little warped, minus the deadly impact of a Bruce Lee lightning blast.

* * *


Now comes questions on where Pacquiao moves to after having fully re-certified himself among the world’s prizefight elite, maybe equal or next to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. There definitely won’t be an instant third match with Bradley, called the spinning top (trumpo) by the accomplished poet-essayist Juaniyo Arcellana.

“The classic Pacman is back,” cried young Yousef Velasco of PMS from Dagupan.

“Watch out for the next fight—Pacquiao vs Kim Henares, this will create a media frenzy,” quipped the sharp-nosed Joseph Dumuk, former chief national sports statistician.

Will the tough Bureau of Internal Revenue chief at least consider a slash or reduction from the P2.2 billion Pacquiao supposedly owes the government in unpaid taxes?

* * *

There were great moments of joy and fulfillment for thankful people from all walks of life in the country.

The most rewarded, of course, were those who did not mind that Pacquiao failed to deliver a much-sought knockout; their idol, after all, managed to put up one of the most complete displays of heroism, wizardry and durability on top of the ring.

Himself speaking, trainer Freddie Roach admitted it was not a perfect Pacquiao out there at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sunday, calling his prize ward somewhat sloppy.

Roach said Pacquiao definitely has the murderous instinct, but was not as quick and smart as he had wanted him to be in that grim battle against the intrepid Tim Bradley.

* * *

All told, the biggest beneficiary of the great battle at MGM Grand was world boxing itself.

When was the last time a championship match of this magnitude provided a valid theater complete with the elements of deep drama and, yes, catharsis.

There was redemption [for Pacquiao] and unbelievable reformation [on the part of Bradley].

From brash, abusive champ to a humble Pacquiao admirer, and this happened in a fleeting postfight closing scene on top of the ring.

Larry Merchant, unusually frazzled, was trying to get Pacquiao’s side of the whirlwind amateur blows Bradley was frantically raining from all over when the dethroned champion butted in.

“He beat me tonight, he’s the better man, one of the greatest fighters I ever fought,” Bradley was trying to explain to Merchant before he was cut off by a mini-commotion caused by the unscheduled appearance of Mommy Pacquiao at mid-ring.

Call it a mini-miracle or whatever, but the drama gave birth to a perfect gentleman who, before the all-revealing battle, had also distinguished himself as a mean, villainous heckler.

Meanwhile, after rekindling his heroic romance with adoring countrymen, Pacquiao pauses, rests and licks his eyebrow wound.

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Then it’s up and on with the journey—even though, this late, the sky is no longer the limit.

TAGS: Bob Arum, Boxing, Freddie Roach, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley

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