Manny Pacquiao, Warrior


{Painting by Peter Paul Rubens}

As I've watched Manny Pacquiao's fist land on the open wounds of Erik Morales's face, memories of the good old High School days, when my body still crave the smell of the enemies sweat in the sports arena, of the hunger for a win, came flooding through.

The bruteness of the spectacle lingers in the air; the soaring voices of the national anthem singers as it echoes through the ears of the chanting Filipinos and Mexicans in the arena; the rolling of tears of Manny's upon hearing his country's anthem despite being rendered with a flat note by an unworthy singer; the ringside supporters splashing about their champions face hoping to sooth; the crowd frantic, terrified at the thought of loosing, peeking in-between the ropes; Morales's wearied knees kissing the floor; the wave of the black referee halting the bout; Morales's stoic face softening, succumbing to the inevitable; the noble embrace of the man who brought him down; the longing for a respite at the country they fervishly fought for.

"What is sports but a form of entertainment," my former girlfriend who hasn't played a single competitive sports in his life, used to say. To which I, a former soccer varsity, answered: "Sports, in its truest form, is war."

Manny Pacquiao shattered the bones of Morales's nose with his fists, and battered his ribs in him, to which Morales guarded his torso from ruin. His face cried out in pain, a defeating pain, the weight of punches drumming his body, he fell, his face pulped.

Had this been an action movie with no merit, I would have balked and dismissed it as garbage. But, this, is no movie, this is as visceral as it gets. For the Mexicans and for his loved ones, Morales's pulped face is harrowing. The sorrow that Filipinos felt when Manny lost their first match, lies now in the heart of the foe. The rivalry consumed both, Filipinos and Mexicans alike, sweeping year by year, in match after match - an aura of enticing impetus, the intense round-by-round punch and utter brutal void. Morales advances, gaining the momentum, attacking with his arsenal, teethering on a conquest. Then, a few rounds later, Pacquiao, improve, re-strategize, come about with the weight of his country in his fists, attacks with such fury as to shatter Morales's dreams of ever regaining the territory that was once his.

"Boxing is for blood-thirsty people" said my former girlfriend. I wish I'd answered her that time, but alas, I was beguiled by her charms. I'll answer her now:

To bring forth a modern borguoise sensibility to sports (like pity), would ruin it's whole enigma. An athlete cannot allow his humaneness to interfere with his purpose. What would happen if Pacquiao, or for that matter, our South East Asian Games gold medalist, succumb to pity?

Sports, in the thick of the battle, altogether, is not a humanist or political endeavor. There is no right or wrong in the moral sense. It's all foreground of good/bad performance, it's all an honor code to be upheld (shame in defeat, glory in winning). When Morales, a world class, future hall of fame boxer, beat Pacquiao to the punch on their first salvo, he dismissed Pacquiao as a predictable one-trick pony. But look closer now, within the fa├žade of Pacquiao's B movie, his socks endorsement, his beerhouse sappy song, his soap operatic music video, is the physical courage of a warrior, whose eyes ablaze with a hunger for glory, whose spirit savored, and then relished, the pure unadulterated pleasure of revenge.


  1. Anonymous (26 January, 2006 16:19)

    Hooray to Manny!
    We have the same blog concept
    visit me...

    Anonymous (27 January, 2006 11:06)

    hi! i like your site! i'll link you ok?

    Anonymous (27 January, 2006 13:12)

    Sexy blog. Thanks for visiting.

    rob, okay.

    Anonymous (29 January, 2006 11:02)

    "Sports, in its truest form, is war."

    is it so? im a former soccer varsity, too. and i never thought of it as war. until now.

    nice blog. :grin:

    Anonymous (07 February, 2006 14:30)

    great blog!!!!!!!!!

    Anonymous (11 August, 2006 05:56)

    Well... "Basang Panaginip" is now the "passion of my life" :smile:

    Great Blog! Great Writing! keep up the fantastic work!!!!

    Anonymous (23 November, 2006 16:30)

    meron ka bang clip nung boxing, taena! badtrip dito sa desyerto, wala kaming t.v.

    pakopya ko!!!

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