Do you see how Manny Pacquaio is hit on his chest and then on his entire torso with a wide wooden pole, like he’s a baseball ball being hit with a tremendous swing of a baseball bat?
Pacquiao winces. But he’s not supposed to.
Because it’s a TV ad.
But you don’t see all of what they do to a boxer while training. They hit him on the face with boxing gloves, right-left, right-left. And it’s not kid stuff.
It’s supposed to make the boxer get used to being stoned to another horizon, called the Ultimate Numbness.
Next, they make him dance like a drunk chicken doing hip-hop on “It’s Showtime!”
Then they hit him somewhere when he’s dancing and he shouldn’t fall.
Then they make him jog, if possible, not on a plain terrain but land that gently goes up to Baguio (if you put all his jogging exercises together).
Where did I get all these? From TV news clips of our hero, Manny Pacquiao, training. Yes, I call him a hero because he is the only one who the world knows is a Filipino by earning our sublime name as a nation with literal blood, sweat, and tears.
Now, let’s watch the real fight of the two rivals in shining Las Vegas, where money is exchanged like economies dropping up and down in the New York Stock Market.
I sat on the floor of Shangri-La Mall one time, because a more-than-32” flat TV was on in an appliance shop. And so was the fight between Manny Pacquaio and his rival. People, all sitting on the floor (like Woodstock—look it up on Wikipedia), cheered when the other fell. But when he stood up for another blast from Manny, a zoom-in shot showed his face: bloodied, sore, a nasty bump beside his left eye which covered half his gaze, blood oozing from it.
Hurt beyond words
And the people cheered.
The people cheered two men pummeling each other until one fell, and no matter his muscles and gigantic build, he was no longer able to stand up because he was hurt beyond words.
He was pulled to his corner, a doctor putting ice bags on his face, the other wiping off dripping blood.
Our hero was brought to the center, his arm lifted by the referee, but the zoom-in shot on Manny’s face is also gory. He looked like the man he defeated. Hurt. Beyond words.
Do you think that, after each fight, a boxer sleeps in peace? No, he sleeps in pain. Unless the doctors do some magic, we don’t know what takes that pain away.
And after five months he is ready to pummel another rival.
Do you remember the great Muhammad Ali? “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” To all boxers, that was his signature threat.
Ten years later, he can’t get up in his bed, can’t walk, and did not recognize anything nor anyone on earth.
Muhammad Ali? The one who called himself “I Am The Greatest!” because of the men he sacked and racked and made him the king of all boxers?
Then, people started thinking: really, boxing is a sport?
Is it included in the Olympics?
A sport, from the very word itself, shows friendly rivalry, where the loser bows to the winner who outran him or her or outswam him or her.
In the volleyball courts, in the gymnasium where athletes show off grace and strength, in the ice-skating rink where man and woman dance and show off perfectly complex footwork as they swish with Mozart playing.
If you think about it, boxing is a brawl on the streets. In movies, it’s when James Bond meets his enemies with no guns.
And when such a thing happens, don’t the police come and bring you to the nearest police outpost—for breaking the peace and hurting another?
But that’s a sport!
I implore Manny Pacquiao to retire and give his battered body a chance to recover from the hurts it has taken.