Blog #6: Pacquiao, the legend, the mystery; if you can’t be a boxer, be a blogger

Notebook Mar 23, 2015 at 8:23 pm
By Hermie Garcia

By Hermie Garcia

I missed writing yesterday’s blog. (I promise to blog twice today to make up for it.) I was in a farewell (despedida) party of more than 250 people for the outgoing Philippine Consul General to Toronto, Junever Mahilum-West, late into the night. I met old friends, acquaintances, colleagues in the community media, community association members, some people I knew only by face.

Pacquiao picture, on the frontpage of a Manila daily, in his third fight vs Marquez, Nov. 14, 2011. See Pacquiao signature, with name of the blog author. Courtesy of Atty. Romy Macalintal.

Pacquiao picture, on the frontpage of a Manila daily, in his third fight vs Marquez, Nov. 14, 2011. See Pacquiao signature, with name of the blog author. Courtesy of Atty. Romy Macalintal.

My wife and I usually attend this kind of events to cover them to provide local happenings content for the newspaper and to update us on what’s going on and feel the pulse of the community. We talk to the the event organizers, some celebrities, leaders and personalities, some grassroots level friends and old friends we haven’t seen for months or even years.

But how many of them can you talk to in about three hours while a program is going on, with the speeches and awards-giving, video-showing, picture-taking and dancing and when their attention span is as short as that of young kids in a playground?

But talk to some of them, I did, while occasionally taking some pictures for the next issue of our community newspaper. The longest one-on-one talk I had, about 20 minutes or so, was with a friend who, with his wife, used to own and run a sandwich, coffee and  snacks store in the high-end Yorkville area of downtown Toronto. We initially got a catching-up conversation and eventually, as if inevitably, we talked about Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and his May 2 fight with Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr., the undefeated and biggest earner boxer and athlete of all time. (If I remember right, Forbes magazine estimated his income as $200 million in one year.)

It’s tagged “The Fight of the Century” with a purse of $200 million with a split of 60-40 in Mayweather’s favor. This fight is five years in the making and with the two of boxing’s best of the best, pound for pound, it promises to be the sports spectacle event of all time. No wonder there are rumors that the price of the farthest seat in the bleaches is now $5K. Unbelievable. The hotels in Vegas, they say, are now fully-booked for that weekend.

Anyway, my friend asked me if I believed Pacquiao would win. I said, of course. Why? I recently watched Mayweather’s fights on Youtube and I said his style was one-dimensional, defensive, too careful — his jabs are fast, I concede, and in most times accurate, but they’re not followed by powerful punches. He delivers powerful punches only after his opponent has attacked. When his opponent is aggressive and is believed to have dangerous and powerful punches, Mayweather avoids toe-to-toe exchanges. He runs around and taunts his opponent, drops his left fist to lure him into attacking but he’s quick to get his face out of the way and then counter punches.

I know that after watching a few Mayweather fights, I would already be a qualified boxing analyst. But I’m just saying what I observed in Mayweather’s fights, that’s all. Let me continue. My friend said he watched on Youtube an analysis of Pacquiao’s style of fighting which showed in slow motion his moves in actual fights. It showed, my friend said, Pacquiao’s amazing speed and power that’s not been seen in boxing, ever. The analyst on video emphasized that there may never be another Pacquiao with that lethal combination for a long long time. Or maybe never. And then his strong legs, the footwork, the balance, his side-to-side movements. We’re talking super powers here.

The conversation went on and on. And then I  went back to my table and met other people and back to my more mundane work of taking some photos and chatting about “less earth-shaking” issues like caregivers and foreign temporary workers in Canada and the recent controversial changes in Canada’s immigration policies.

This morning when I logged on my computer, the first image that shook my semi-conscious mind was that of Pacquiao being interviewed by CNN. Click the link to watch the short video. It’s about the Pacman’s spirituality which maybe his important source of strength. He talks about being very poor in his youth (He used to earn $2 for one fight when he started boxing.) and what he wants his children to experience so they will remember his origins. Just watch him talk. I don’t want to spoil the story.

For the kick of it, I’m sharing a picture of Pacquiao on the front page of a Manila daily newspaper with his personal dedication to me and his signature. The newspaper is dated November 14, 2011. It was his third fight, I believe, with Juan Manuel Marquez, the guy who knocked him out in their fourth encounter. The newspaper clipping with his handwriting was sent to me by my friend, election lawyer Atty. Romy Macalintal, who is a boxing fanatic and archivist by choice. (See his story on Flash Elorde in The Philippine Reporter website.) Romy is also the election lawyer of Pacquiao.

Talking of Pacquiao as a politician, he also mentioned in his CNN interview that he entered politics to help the poor. He said something like doesn’t like bad behavior and he doesn’t like people who mistreat the poor; that the rich don’t know how the poor people feel. Is he another typical politician talking here? You decide, watch him speak and feel his sincerity or  lack of it. Only time will tell, as they say. He’s been a member of the Philippine House of Representatives for many years now and he’s been criticized for a lackluster performance. Some politicians are even asking that his extended absences in the Congress sessions be investigated and used for his ouster in the parliament.

Now, here comes his long-time coach and trainer, Freddie Roach, saying Paccquiao wants to be President of the country in the future. And his wife, Jinkee, saying he will run for Senator in next year’s Philippine elections.

Obviously, the plot thickens in this epic life story of this legend of a man. A boxer as president of a country? It never happened in history, I believe. But there’s always a first time, people say too. We can’t say right now if that will happen.

In the meantime, let us savor the excitement of the May 2 Fight of the Century. The emotional build up is dizzying. Enjoy the ride!
(For us, lesser mortals, how can we in our own little ways make a difference in the lives of other people? If you have a story to tell, even if it’s not anywhere near the earth-shaking Pacquiao story, share it by blogging. You don’t have to be a writer, you don’t have to know grammar or spelling. Look at Pacquiao in the interview. He’s not the best speaker in English. His English is far from perfect and yet he speaks from the heart about his experiences, his beliefs, his vision of the future (about his fight). And in the process touch the hearts of his audience all over the world. This is another wonder of the man. He is authentic, humble and kind. You can do that as a blogger if you can’t do it as a boxer (now, that rhymes). How?  Use this blogging platform. It has done wonders for me. It made me write again, and daily for that matter. It can do wonders for you too. And if you wish, earn an income in the process. How? Just tell your story or any story. With the power of the Internet, you will earn. Let me show you. Log on to your computer ang go to: Watch the video and leave me your email address. Email me for further info or questions: Talk to you later.)