"Even the best fall down sometimes."
If there is a line from song to describe the entire feeling we have today, this would be it.
I didn't need to see the fourth (and perhaps, last) installment of the Manny Pacquaio - Juan Manuel Marquez fight to feel and understand the disappointment we have today. I'm sorry but I didn't care at all about the bout; I wasn't even planning on watching it and was asleep throughout the entire noon today. When I woke up at around past 3 p.m. only then did I found out and felt no surprise at all.
We were all hoping for some form of redemption from the humiliating defeat Pacquiao suffered against Timothy Bradley back in June. But we weren't the only ones hoping for such redemption. Across the other side of the Pacific, millions of Mexicans were also hoping Marquez can make a successful comeback and finally put a nail on the Mexicutioner's coffin. It was hope against hope and only the man with the better training, focus, and determination can tip the scales in their favor. Clearly, Marquez was that man, knowing he had so much to lose and determined not to be humiliated once more in his boxing career.
Pacquaio has always been a source of pride for us Filipinos, just like the many other Filipino celebrities who made it big in the international scene. For a country always on the recovery from some sort of disaster, whether calamity, poverty, or corruption, it does help our ego a lot to be known throughout the rest of the world. For more than a decade, Pacquaio had been so much of a morale booster that our entire generation's life revolved around him. His face and antics became part of our media: in movies, TV shows, and advertisements. His life story had been published in textbooks, taught in schools, and emulated by young boxers in the provinces. He wasn't just a hero to us; he is the personification of the hero we wanted to see in ourselves. Someone who punched his way to a better life and knocked out the walls of poverty.
Our lives turned around the axis that was Manny Pacquaio for so long that we didn't realize there is so much more to be proud of in our heritage, such as other notable Filipino boxers Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria. We didn't realize that pride doesn't just stem from individuals doing great feats, but also in a society doing greater acts as manifested in our economy's gains this past quarter or our improved corruption rating. We were blinded by the ills we see so much in our society, we forgot about the good we can do (and were able to do) as a nation.
It's high time for Manny to do himself a favor and retire. He has, after all served his nation well as an athlete and as a symbol. But moreover, this nation should allow him to retire and accept the fact that his time in boxing is already up. More than lessons, this event should bring forth a change in consciousness among us. We should start believing that we, the people, not Manny or any other celebrity, are the source of pride and honor of this great country. We must believe, not in individuals who can be knocked out, but in a group of people who can knock down walls even greater than themselves. TSS