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Pacman on the ropes

If Pacquiao thought Marquez was a tough opponent to beat, just imagine what he thinks of the press now. Sports writers and armchair analysts have been flapping their gums non-stop about how Pacquiao didn’t deserve to win or that he was badly outboxed or that the only way to justify his win was that he had knocked Marquez down. Since he won, the post-game geniuses have had poor guy on the ropes longer than Marquez ever did. He’s prolly punch-drunk by now.

Come on, people. Give the pug a break. He won, didn’t he? He brought home the bacon belt, which is really precisely the point. What does it really matter if it wasn’t an elegant win? The fact is, Marquez was tough and they were evenly matched. Is that concept so hard to accept? To say that his win was disappointing is actually to say that we wanted him to dazzle us. Well, he didn’t. Suck it up, Recah.

This is what happens when you build a cult of personality. The man becomes a giant, and the taller they are, the harder they fall. Bad enough that we treat the boxer like a vicarious vehicle to stave off our individual inferiority complexes, now we have to make him a vicarious vehicle to castigate ourselves for our individual under-achievement? Because that’s what’s going on here.

We’ve projected unto Pacquiao all our hopes for international recognition for the Filipino talent. In him, we see so strongly what we hope ourselves to be that we’ve transformed him – at least in our minds – into some glorious and unstoppable fighting machine. Unconsciously aware that the weight of national pride that we’ve laid across his shoulders could easily cripple the man, we’ve also unconsciously sought to ease our conscience (we feel guilty about putting it all on him) by convincing ourselves that he was the war-god Mars born with a brown face and a flat nose.

And when he reminded him that he was just a man who had met his match, the weight of our expectations now threatens to beat the pulp out of his victory.

What makes it so tragic is that this was actually one of his better victories. Think about it. How can Superman be heroic when he steps into the path of a speeding bullet when the bullet can’t even dent his eyeballs? And how can the Batman not be infinitely more heroic when, knowing his own pre-disposition to insanity, he willingly enters a madhouse to rescue a friend?

The worth of a victory is directly proportional to the difficulty of achieving it. With Marquez, Pacquiao barely squeaked by but he made it anyway. They were so evenly matched that by defeating Marquez, Pacquiao may have well beaten himself. And anyone will tell you that the toughest enemy to beat is the one staring back at you in the mirror. High difficulty, great victory.

Not Superman stopping an annoying bullet, Pacquiao was the Batman descending into hell and emerging half-dead but victorious. How the fuck can you quibble with that?

More to the point – why quibble at all?

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Filed under: society, sports,

7 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    In boxing, every Filipino is a critic.

  2. cvj says:

    Although i don’t follow boxing, i believe this is very well said. You should write a letter to the editor.

  3. shiro says:

    the fact that Filipinos can be so worked up about this is proof of the impotence they feel in other areas of their lives…

  4. BrianB says:

    shiro,

    Are you saying everyone should face his frustrations? It’s as if you’re advocating anarchy. We have boxing, South Americans and Europeans have soccer. Americans have “USA number 1!” Can’t expect everyone to be a success.

  5. shiro says:

    Brian:

    why not? it’s something we as a people haven’t tried yet. i’m saying cut the dude some slack, or anybody else who rises above the throng and becomes the object of the peoples’ adulation.

  6. niki says:

    i looove, love this post, rom.

  7. allan says:

    excellent points. as a fan of pacquiao and boxing as a whole, i always knew that marquez would be his toughest opponent in years, and i’m confused as to why everyone’s giving him such a hard time for winning a difficult victory.

    on the other hand, the quibbling is useful in hyping up a third fight. after all, the point of world-class prizefighting isn’t merely to win, but to showcase grit and excellence. in the end, i think this plays into manny’s hands, because now, everyone will watch a third fight.

    which means more money for pacquiao, and more fame for the philippines if he squeezes through yet again.

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