PACQUIAO YEAR-END INTERVIEW: "I FIGHT FOR THE FILIPINO PEOPLE"
By Eddie Alinea
Fri, 03 Jan 2014
Almost everybody underestimated Manny Pacquiao’s determination and resolve when he battled tough American Brandon Rios in his only fight in the year that past, only a few believed he could win.
Coming from a twin defeats the year prior, the first in his long, 18-year boxing career, including what many perceived a career-ending sixth round knockout in the hands of arch-enemy Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao devastated Rios with an overwhelming 12-round unanimous decision in one of the most remarkable comebacks in boxing history.
And he did it, bouncing back from a knockout loss to deliver a message that he’s far from over as many, including his closest allies, thought.
“That was the darkest moment in my boxing career,” Pacquiao told this writer in Tagalog in an interview on New Year’s eve, referring to year 2013 when, for the first time in his fighting life he bowed to undefeated American Timothy Bradley in a disputed split decision and to the Mexican legend.
“I thought that, indeed, my career was finished. Maraming nagsasabi iilan daw lamang ang nakagagawang bumangon sa pagkatalo ng KO and at my age, (he was nearing 35 at fight night), mahirap na ngang makabalik,” he said. “Pero may mga nakabangon, di ba?“
For that reason and his deep faith in the Almighty, his love for sport, the country and countrymen served as inspirations in entertaining an obsession to come back and live again in a place where he amassed great fortune and fame since climbing the squared ring for the first time on January 22, 1995 when he pounded Enteng Ignacio in Mindoro to win a unanimous four-round decision.
“My only obsession in life is love God and to make people happy. Everybody knows that by now,” he said. “Everything I do, dedicated sa God at sa boxing fans, in particular, and sports fans, in general.”
Since his younger days, he recalled, Aling Dionisia, a single mother to him and five siblings, thought them to believe in God, which Mommy D said is the source of everything.
“Mula pagkabata, natanim na sa isip ko at ng mga kapatid ko na with God, there’s nothing impossible. Na lahat ibibigay nya, basta humingi ka lamang,” Pacquiao narrated. “Yun ang naging panuntunan ko sa buhay. Ang magtiwala sa Kanya sapagkat Siya ang lahat sa buhay ng tao.”
“So when I lost my two fights in 2012, hindi naman ako masyadong nalungkot. Dasal ko kay Lord, Ikaw ang nagbigay sa akin ng ganitong kapalaran, Ikaw din ang hahango sa akin sa balong napuntahan ko,” he related. “Pinangako ko kay Lord, kung anuman ang pagkukulang ko, sa ensayo, sa pagtulong sa kapuwa at serbisyo sa constituents ko, pupunuan ko.”
“Yun din ang sinabi ko sa pamilya ko my wife, our children and even our employes. Ako pa ngang nagsabi sa kanila na huwag malungkot dahil may dahilan ang nangyari na Diyos lamang ang nakaaalam,” he said.
“What saddened my more, besides the thought of ending my career, was if that happen maraming malulungkot, the Pacman said. “Those who, I made happy everytime I fight. Yung mga patuloy na nananalangin sa tagumpay ko, hindi ko na mabibigyan ng kaligayahan.”
An earthquake and a strong typhoon hit the Visayas and part of Mindanao and he told himself that those were the times lend his hands to the sufferings of his countrymen by at least pay a visit to those places.
“I wanted to go there to at least make the people happy with my presence, pero nasa gitna ako ng ensayo at ang ilang araw na mawawala might spell defeat in my coming fight against Rios,” he said.
“Ipinangako na lamang sa mga kababayan natin na bibigyan ko silang muli ng kaligayahan at pagasa na may buhay pa sa kabila ng pagdadalamhati sa pamamagitan ng isang impresibong panalo,” Pacquiao said. “Sabi ko, pagkatapos kung manalo, then I will visit them and help them in their hours of bereavement. “At, tulad nang dati, hindi naman ako binigo ni Lord.”
Pacquiao reminisced that he wanted to fight last April in his desire to bring his career back, but the mid-term elections set a month later prevented him from pursuing his wish.
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