Saturday, December 6, 2008


I know it has nothing to do about politics or law, but the sensational victory of pound-for-pound champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao against famed Golden Boy boxer Oscar Dela Hoya is just a story too hard to resist. As everybody knows by now, Pacquiao forced Dela Hoya to capitulate at the end of 8th round after the latter got a good measure of beating from the Gen-San pugilist.

Once again Pacquiao has proven them all wrong - the boxing analysts, I mean. After the brokered fight between Pacquiao and Dela Hoya was announced, not a few have expressed reservations about a Pacquiao victory. Our very own Recah Trinidad, a well respected sports commentator in the Philippines, opined that Pacquiao should knockout Dela Hoya or the Golden Boy will steal a victory by points. Renowed boxing trainer Angelo Dundee (who has trained boxing greats like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Geroge Foreman), hired by Dela Hoya as a technical adviser, said before the fight that Dela Hoya has the perfect style to beat Pacquiao.

Some of my friends, self-styled boxing pundits - if you will, expressed fears that a Pacquiao victory hangs on the balance. And it is not a far fetch worry, by the way, considering that Dela Hoya has reach and height advantage, not to mention that Pacquiao had to go up by more than 10 pounds in weight just to qualify for the welterweight category.

But as history would have it, Pacquiao delivered blow after blow to the seemingly befuddled Dela Hoya, vindicating Freddie Roach's claim that the Golden Boy can no longer pull the trigger. Roach really knows his man when he declared that there is no doubt Pacquiao would win the match, just like when he predicted a knockout against Diaz when many were hesistant to make such bold claims given Diaz's sterling record.

The Pacman seemed to have surprised everybody - or is it the other way around, Dela Hoya surprising everybody? - when he once again showed his mettle, ala his fight against Diaz, by surprising his opponent with his speed and power and denying him, save a few well connected punches that had many of us worried for a while, the opportunity to land real big blows that makes one a winner.

The Dela Hoya we saw in his fight against Floyd Mayweather is nowhere to be found as he failed to find a place for his fighting style against Pacquiao. His long reach did not do him any good as Pacquiao unleashed his barrage of jab and hook combinations with lightning speed that caught Dela Hoya flatfooted several times.

To my mind, Dela Hoya didn't want to take the beating that Diaz had and be floored in the end that when asked by his coach if he still wanted to continue the fight, Dela Hoya gave in easily.

Post Script: There may be a political connection after all. Whenever Pacquiao fights the nation comes to a standstill. Crime rates go down and offensives between the military and insurgents temporarily stop as everybody becomes glued to his fight, all cheering as one - whether soldiers, communist rebels, adminstration or opposition politicians, rich or poor, law abiding or not. This may be Pacquiao's lasting legacy: uniting the Filipinos even momentarily.

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