Manny Pacquiao punches way to greatness

Manny Pacquiao punches way to greatness

by Rod Escobar Cantiveros

Another fight, another victory. Millions of Filipinos all over the world cheered for the greatest Filipino boxer named Manny Pacquiao as he passionately gave his all to beat veteran fighter Sugar Shane Mosley last May 7th in Las Vegas.

If there was a national prestigious newsmagazine, like Time or Newsweek, in the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao would be the Man of the Year 2011 for his effort of building a good image for Filipinos abroad and his fight to help eradicate poverty in the Philippines. He is an inspiration for everyone who wants their dreams realized. Pacman use his success as a medium of helping others.

Before the fight against Mosley, Pacquiao said, “Boxing in the ring is not the greatest fight I have to fight, but my greatest fight is the eradication of poverty in my country,the Philippines.”

Such a tough and yet a doable ambition. And Pacquiao has the passion for helping others. His ring occupies the more than 7,100 islands. And the fight will be relentless! And being the only billionaire among the members of the House of Representatives, Manny has the trust and confidence of the people. As one of the placards inside MGM Grand says: “Manny Pacquiao for President in 2016!”

Since his arrival in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao created so much interest. Filipinos from all over the world flocked to Las Vegas for the fight, like the couple I met from Australia, Alberta Filipino Journal associate publisher Jun Angeles and his wife Hermie and their friends, and the Manny Pacquiao look-alike Abenojar. From Winnipeg, besides myself, my sons Ron and John and John’s girlfriend, Jenna; Randy Viray and his group and CKJS Radio’s Chester Pangan with two lucky listeners who won the Vickar Autogroup Inc. raffle. The Philippines’ Vice President Jejomar Binay was also there and other boxing and government officials.

Pacquiao souveneirs were being sold everywhere. We joined the sea of fans heading to the MGM Grand Garden (known to pundits as “gladiator’s arena.” Expect some blood, I surmised. “It would be a knockout!” some said. “No, Mosley has not been knockedout…wanna bet?” others challenged.

While seating on the Grand MGM Grand Garden and surrounded by different individuals I could hear many good comments about Manny Pacquiao. Two guys were talking behind me saying, “I learned that Manny is a congressman in the Philippines and he has been giving money to charity,” an American looking person says to his pal.

“I heard that this guy was poor and now a millionaire. He is helping other people. He is good and I like him, good for the Philippines,” his friend adds.

Pre-fights did not dampen our enthusiasm as people started gathering for Paquiao and Mosley fight. One person said: “In the 5th round, Mosley will be finished! I said: “8th round, tko!” We were asking for blood! Thundering claps punctured the silence most of the time. “Where are the gladiators?” “Manny! Manny! Manny! unison they shouted. First came Shane Mosley; and when Paquiao appeared, pandemonuim ensued. “Manny! Manny! Manny!- in unison they shouted and some fans raised the Philippine Flag; others wrapped it around their bodies.

With so much patriotism left, I joined the singing of the Philippine National Anthem on top of my voice as I competed with Charice’s voice. I was so proud to be there, being with more than 16,412 fans. And in this American soil, I could feel I am just a kababayan who looks beyond Pacquiao’s triumph from poverty and hardship. To me, he is a symbol of hope and faith and hardwork. I think my seatmates identified me as a bonafide Pinoy (before the game, an American man bowed and greeted me a Chinese hello.)

After the Philippine National Anthem, Manny! Mannny! Manny! in unison the fans shouted. I did some shouting myself. And nobody would like to seat down and relax. So much tension was shown by the audience. And so much for Paquiao and Mosley. Round 1 and the fight begun. And Manny’s yellow colored gloves ( a symbol of the country, kulay Cory) started to ignite a good fight.

TKO him at the 3rd round! Hit and miss for Paquiao’s yellow jab! Shane moved and made his foot worked on the backward stride. Round 2 seemed the same tempo. Pacquiao tried to find the best opportunity. And in the 3rd Round, Shane Mosley fell with Pacquiao’s left hand connection! and the MGM fans roared like a lion! Pacquiao’s pound by pound! Fans wanted blood! And succeeding rounds had become a rehearsal for “Dancing with the Stars” episdoe.

Fans booed for Mosley. Manny’s fans shouted: Manny! Manny! Manny! Touching gloves between the two fighthers who would receive an equal payment of $20 million apiece. The fight to most was sound booring! No action! No blood! “Hey man, we need blood!” Modern gladiators do not shed too much blood, i suppose. Mosley fell again in the 8th round…thought of TKO! Fight begun again in a loose fashion…hitting one’s glove. Pacquiao and Mosley moved according to the tempo of their likings, not the fans’ wanted to see.

And ouch! Manny fell in the 10th round. Fans stood up and there was a quiet moment…what happened? KO for Manny? Oh, No? Yes, it was a wake up call for Manny! He stood up a warrior! And he started his usual hitting pattern. And on the 11th, some of my seatmates, probably, Mosley’s fans started leaving the MGM theatre arena. They knew that Pacquiao is the winner of the most boring fight. Booes and shouts punctured the expected KO by Manny. In the 11th round, same tempo and the 12th round ended with a whimper! The proclamation and the awarding seemed an ordinary boxing bout! Yes, because, fans wanted blood! And thru the shedding of blood, adrenalin overshoots up into the air.

Manny Paquiao won by a unanimous decision. He dominated the former five-time champion Shane Mosley with his brilliant moves while maintaining his distance defensively. “I just fought the best fighter in the world,” Mosley said.

Manny climbed the ropes and gestured willingly to the waiting fans mostly Filipinos. The Philippine flag waved along his presence to the crowd. The Pinoys fans were satisfied and happy. One Pinoy said: “Wala ngang TKO, pero basag naman ang laman ng bungo ni Mosley…wala sa kalingkinan si Mosley…kaya,” and he shouted: “Manny! Manny! Manny, the champion!”

We left MGM Grand Garden satisfied and joined the sea of people getting out from the garden. Some people were waiting at the lobby expecting that Manny might come and greet his fans. We we were carried away by the sea of men walking slowly to the casino. And always in my mind, every beginning of the round, Manny makes a sign of the cross. What a devout Catholic he is! I am inspired by his devotion!

And the morning after, the headlines of the papers greeted my eyes: “Paquiao: WBO welterweight champion fights through leg cramp.””Pacquiao picks apart Mosley.” “Yaaaaaawn! Pacquiao gives Mosley, paying public late wake-up call.” “Pound for pound king too fast, too strong for former five-time champ!”

Expecting more blood? Watch Marquez and Pacquiao’s third fight in November. Mabuhay ka, Manny Pacquiao!