PACQUIAO WATCH: The mantle too heavy
By Edwin G. Espejo
Fri, 12 Dec 2008
ONCE more, Pacquiao has become a victim of his own success.
His eight-round methodical drubbing of boxing's former golden boy Oscar de la Hoya made him the logical and apparent heir as king of pay per view tickets.
On his shoulders rests the onus of carrying the load of boxing's waning popularity following the expected exit of de la Hoya, the sport's biggest draw and cash cow.
At 29 years old, boxing superstardom and legacy are the Filipino's to lose if he chose to ignore the honor he grabbed from de la Hoya and now is bestowed upon him.
Pacquiao is a once-in-a-generation kind of gifted athlete - one who defies logic and one very difficult to dissect.
All his previous opponents have belittled his athleticism, which, combined with speed and power has found no match in this millennium.
Yes, when was the last time you saw a southpaw as blurring as Mercury, the Greek god of delivery, and Odin, his Norse cousin in the far end of Europe?
Both were conquerors whose legendary successes inspired awe and wonders.
Like Mercury, Manny's feet have imaginary wings. He may not float like a butterfly as Ali did gracefully in his prime but he can outpace even the quickest prey in this planet the way cheetah hunts for its meal.
He may not have the heaviest bombs in the sports but the Gatling-like delivery of his punches, coming from all angles, is enough to put ordinary mortals to their sleep.
Yes, he is god-like, nay, a demigod, right now.
But enough of these hyperboles.
Manny's announced intention to take a leave from boxing two or three fights from now to get into the dirty world of politics is like turning his back on the sports that made him a crossover household name everywhere in the world.
Combined with his innocent charisma and humbling humility, Manny's astonishing speed, strength and stamina have taken the sports by storm.
Manny owes it to the sport that made him what he is now.
Not that we like him to fight forever. No, we are not sadists who want Manny to exit the sports in disgrace, just as he humiliated Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and, now, Oscar de la Hoya and drove them into forced retirement.
Like a friend once said, every time has its man and every man has his own time.
Manny came into the scene in his own time and at the time when boxing badly needed a figure to lift the sports from its current doldrums.
In these days of crash commercialism, where pay per view fares are dictated by the moolahs that they will earn rather than the thrill that they will bring, Manny is a throwback to golden days when only the best fight the very best.
Sure, Manny should retire three or four fights from now, preferably in his own time and own terms and in the blaze of glory.
He surely deserves to choose his own career path changes.
But politics at this time? Maybe not.
He has the sports to pay back and kids and a wife to attend to. How many times in year does Manny forcibly separate himself from his family to earn his millions? How much is he spending for his freeloaders and hangers on while he is still in the apex of his career?
Life after boxing does not mean politics. Maybe five years after he quit the sports when all vultures hanging around and leeches sticking on him no longer see it fit to be pictured alongside with him.
He can still be the magnanimous Manny even in retirement and outside of politics.
But he can not be the same Manny when he joins politics. At this time when he is the saving grace of the country, joining partisan politics will erode his stature as a unifying factor of this troubled country.
Study the history of Philippine politics first, Manny. When you have already aged gracefully and acquired the wisdom, then you may be ripe for it.
One's pure intention of helping other people is not enough reason to join politics. Nor is it simply walking through the corridors of power and rubbing elbows with the mighty.
It is study of relationships between and among forces in society.
Maybe he could emulate the Man in the Bible who disappeared during his teens, made a triumphant return and reappeared at The Temple already armed with wisdom and resolve to force a change in the world.
Then his time would have come and he would be the man of his time.
Top photo: Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao (C) waves during a parade in his honour in Manila December 11, 2008. Pacquiao stunned 10-times world champion Oscar de la Hoya with an eighth-round TKO in their non-title fight in Las Vegas on December 6, 2008. REUTERS/John Javellana (PHILIPPINES)
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