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PHOENIX RISING


PhilBoxing.com




On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms ever recorded on the planet, smashed into the country killing at least 6,300 people with close to 2,000 more missing. Even as late as February of 2014, bodies were still being found. The thirtieth storm to hit the Philippines in 2013, measuring winds of 195mph (Hurricane Sandy measures winds of 110mph), it has unleashed destruction to hundreds of lives and properties. The devastation is unfathomable and the destruction is of biblical proportion. But even when everything else is taken away, the Filipino people shows courage and strength, fortitude and resiliency, they rise up.

Just a year early on December 8, 2012 we have witnessed the fourth bout between rivals, the ?Dinamita? Juan Manuel Marquez and our very own Manny ?Pacman? Pacquiao. From the opening bell, Pacquiao looked like the old Manny: ferocious, furious, aggressive. He was coming forward like a raging bull, smelling blood and going for the kill. It was beautiful brutal boxing, he was vintage Pacquaio, relentless and using rapid fire shots that he is known for. He was pouncing on his opponent then in a blink of an eye a Swoosh and a BAM, we all know what happened. It was boxing, a callous, unforgiving, merciless, savage sport.

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquaio, is a high school drop out due to extreme poverty. He depended on boxing to make ends meet, to feed his brothers and sisters, to help his mother, He rose from oblivion when he knocked out Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001 at superbantamweight. He stepped on the ring as a late replacement on two weeks notice but won via technical knockout. On November 2003, Pacquaio faced Marco Antonio Barrera- a Mexican boxing legend and an all time pound-for-pound great, defeating him via an 11th round TKO. This was the one of the career defining victories for Pacquiao. He then became a marquee name in the sport of boxing demolishing great champions most notably the fight against Oscar Dela Hoya which they call the Dream Match. It was unthinkable and unprecedented at that time since Pacquaio was the ?small man? against the naturally larger Dela Hoya. Pacquaio dominated the fight and Oscar?s corner threw the towel on the 8th round awarding Pacman a TKO. Pacquaio then raked in more notable wins against Cotto, Margarito and Hatton to name a few. All world champions. He is the one and only 8 division world champion and is considered as the mythical pound for pound best boxer and truly one of the greatest champions of all time. Manny Pacquaio is a transcendental fighter, a phenomenon, he saved boxing when it was called a now dead sport. He put back boxing to the mainstream reminiscent of the golden age of boxing which was the 80?s. Remember Leonard? Hearns? Duran? Hagler? Manny aptly named Pacific Storm, catapulted himself to the top, essentially saving boxing. He is the Messiah named Emmanuel. Coincidence?

His rivalry with the Dinamita Juan Manuel Marquez is worth mentioning to the breath of boxing?s greatest rivalry. Lamotta/Robinson, Ali/Frazier, Willie Pep/Andie Sadler, Gatti/Ward. Pacquaio and Marquez fought 3 times prior with Manny scoring a draw on the 1st fight, and winning the next 2 by the thinnest of all margins hence the fourth episode as Marquez claims victory on all three and Manny stating the same. Marquez is a great fighter but he always lived under the shadow of more famous Mexican boxers during his era- Barrera and Morales. After his emphatic victory against Pacquaio, he is now on the conversation of being the greatest Mexican Boxer as compared to the great Julio Caesar Chavez. Marquez, is a professor of the sport, he is a highly skilled surgeon on top of the ring operating with precision. It was not a lucky punch, a fluke, as some calls it. It is a deliberate and calculated move from the crafty assassin that is Marquez. Credit the man for his perseverance and dedication. With this victory, he became the dragon slayer. Our beast slain! But does that make him a better fighter because he knocked out our Hero? Absolutely not! But at that night, he was the smarter boxer. It is what boxing makes boxing, you take a punch and your opponent punches back. That punch is the same shot that dropped Manny on the 3rd round, Marquez delivered what he practiced a million times over, and in perfection.

Pacquaio?s loss is just not a loss but a devastation. A devastation reminiscent of what Filipino people goes through year after year after year. To see him not only lose but to get bamboozled like that in our very eyes, the sight of his motionless body after that brutal shot, something was taken away from us. Some people say their heart stopped when our hero has fallen. We have seen him lose before but we never expected this kind of defeat. And with that the spirit of the Filipinos is temporarily lost. Understand the magnitude of the importance of the Pacific Storm that is Pacquaio in the hearts of the Filipinos. He is not only a hero in their eyes. He is a representation of hope. Let?s put things into perspective, his achievement is unparalleled and there will be never be another Manny Pacquaio. How can you not love this guy? He genuinely cares about his sport and his countryman. Also realize his essence to his people. His loss pained all of us. Something in us got defeated, part of us was taken away. We agonized in his defeat, it was utter shock and disbelief and with the loss we temporarily lost our hope. Black Sunday it was, the day after the fight. Everyone?s mourning. Even Superman dies.

With the loss, the so-called experts immediately called for his retirement. They were curious how Pacquiao would respond after that brutal knockout. They question his fortitude and his resiliency. Manny bounced back strong and schooled the younger Brandon Rios, avenged his loss to Timothy Bradley in a dominant fashion, and obliterated the undefeated Chris Algieri. But the critics are still not convinced and believes Manny has lost his fire, his knockout power and his killer instinct. But who are they to question this man? Who lived in extreme poverty but never complained but rather rose up with grace and virtue, With all the reason to be angry and despair, Manny found ways to laugh and to love, to survive and persevere, to succeed. At 16 he witnessed his friend collapsed in the ring during a fight, carried him in his arms with gloves on, trying to revive and bring him to the hospital. Moments later, Pacquiao fought in the ring knocking out his opponent instead of quitting after the shock and tragedy and the demise of his friend while in his arms. What courage and strength this man has? No one should ever question his resolve. If there is a true man of steel, then that is Manny Pacquiao.

This Saturday, May 2, 2015, The world will see the rising of the Phoenix, of Manny Pacquiao against the undefeated Floyd 'Money Man' Mayweather. This time he will soar higher, fly farther, display relentless pursuit and like a Phoenix, he will create intense excitement, display true grace and virtue and stir inspiration for his people. From ashes, the world will witness the beauty, the courage and strength of this man. The man they call Pacific Storm, that bends but never break, traumatized but never broken. Once more he will prove and show the world his fortitude and resiliency. He is a legend, a true champion. There will never be another phenomenon like Pacquaio, and for this, I want to say THANK YOU MANNY PACQUAIO! On that day, he will destroy Mayweather. The fight he dedicates to his people and 'Together, We Will Rise Again!".


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Estace Yambot.


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