Freeman Cebu Sports

Iconic, ironic

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

Manny Pacquiao is too old to compete in Paris this year. The International Olympic Committee limited the age to a maximum of 40. It disqualifies the greatest Filipino athlete with the greatest boxing caliber, not of, but at 45. Manny should not feel bad. The rule favors him, especially his body and spirit.

Now middle age, his body is no longer fit and strong enough to cushion the impact of brutal punches. The sport is violent. And savage. Fans cheer on their pugilist to go for the kill, celebrating when the other fighter is hurt, bruised, blooded and swollen. But that’s not all. They want no less than a knockout that crushes not only the flesh but more so the spirit.

The fearless Pacquiao became fearful after Juan Manuel Marquez stunned the Filipino and his countrymen with a right hand crack to the mouth in their fourth and final encounter. The perfect punch floored Pacquiao to a two-minute slumber. It finally answered who is the better fighter, the question went the distance to a bitter, brutal, even deadly quadrilogy.

At that time, Dinamita was 39, Pacman was only 33 and at his peak, but right for Mexican picking. Although the Filipino had a better record in the series, the Mexican saved the best for last. The knockout stuck in the mind of world boxing, especially the Filipino country and community forced by lack of opportunity to work elsewhere in the world. Recency effect. The image of a pound-for pound king mortalized into the canvas of infamy lingers. Mexico celebrated, the Philippines sedated, even before they stood still to avoid the crowned virus.

But really, Manny should leave the sport for good, for his own good. The brutal sport already left him. Thankless too. Some Filipino champions ended up from rags to riches to rags and drugs. But why the world enjoys a bloody sport steps back trillions from civilization. A number of boxers died on the ring and elsewhere after. But humanity does not mourn. It instead demands vengeance anathema to religion that values life but apathetic to corruption that kills it.

But it is not only humans that play savagery. Animals too. At the behest of humans who behave worse than animals. Cockfighting remains legal. Except online, only because of the issues on who gets the revenues. But even before the campaign for animal rights relatively succeeded in a country where a few are notoriously known for eating dog meat, Filipino men have for centuries loved their cocks more than their insatiable wives. The fighting cocks. Not their member, one dismembered by an abused wife, some others the women refuse to remember. Size matters.

But really, Manny has done more than enough for the country, be it in sports or elsewhere. Apart from his boxing legacy, he is best known for his sincerity to fight for flag and serve the country. Unfortunately, sincerity is not enough. It has even become a liability in a country that believes in after life eternity.

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