By Kai Rosario
Renowned Filipino boxing analyst, Ed Tolentino, summed up the collective sentiment of Manny Pacquiao fans when he said: “As in Pacquiao’s other fights, zero percent crime was registered in the Philippines today. Unfortunately though, the biggest robbery heist in modern boxing history happened in Las Vegas.”
Robbery is how most people see the controversial split decision on June 10 stripping Pacquiao of his WBO Welterweight Division title in favor of Timothy Bradley. Many opined the unexpected result to be an atrocious act of indignation to the sport of boxing and to the fighter that has kept it relevant and profitable in the past decade.
The statistics recorded thru the CompuBox used during the fight had Manny winning on all areas. Pacquiao landed 34% or 253 of the 751 punches he hurled compared to Bradley’s 19% or 159 of the 839 punches thrown. Pacquiao connected 63 of his 258 jabs while Bradley let out 449 but managed to land only 51. Bradley’s 108/390 power punches likewise paled compared to Pacquiao’s 190/493.
Sports channels, boxing experts and fans were all in agreement with the above ratio published few hours after the fight. Pacquiao and Bradley’s numbers were just so significantly disproportionate that, if only the Compubox results were official, Pacquiao would have emerged the victor. But the judges’ vote was the decisive factor and Pacquiao seemed to have been short of impressive. For a boxer who clinched 38 of his 54 wins via knockout, impressions and expectations, when unfulfilled, become liabilities.
But as outraged as boxing fans were in his debatable defeat, Pacquiao took a different stride by showing humility, composure, fortitude, refinement and grace. He praised Bradley for his endurance and strength respected the decision of the judges and pacified his infuriated mother and supporters.
Had he won, Pacquiao would have registered 7 straight years of no-loss in his boxing career. But then Bradley had to end it. An ending, which, as displeased as we all might be now, we all know, was not without a purpose.
Interestingly, the number 7 holds a symbolic meaning in the Bible, Manny Pacquiao has been brandishing recently. Seven signifies fullness, completion and perfection.
In Genesis 2:2, God rested on the 7th day after creation. Verse 41:2 of the same book stated that the pharaoh saw in his dreams 7 cows coming from Nile which was later on interpreted by Joseph the Dreamer to mean 7 years of good harvest. In Judges 16:13, Samson’s locks were braided in seven plaits. In Exodus 21:2, a Hebrew slave was to be freed on the seventh year following captivity and service.
According to Exodus 24:1, there are 70 elders in Israel and as revealed in Jeremiah 25:12, Israel was exiled to Babylon for 70 years. Pentecost is seven times seven days after Passover. Jesus told Peter that a man should forgive his enemy, seventy times seven times.
The revelation of the end of times, or the completion of the mystery of God, is likewise riddled with the number 7. Seven angels, seven plagues and “when the voice of the seventh angel is heard the mystery God should be finished.”
Biblically speaking, Manny have come full circle. He pursued boxing to get out of poverty. Now, he is a billionaire. Boxing liberated him from the slums, led him to many places and then hopefully, to himself through a defeat.
A defeat that brought him back to the young boy, who was a victim of injustice caused by a flawed system. Twenty-one years ago, the system was the government of his country. Today, it is the regime of judges in a sport that gambles life.
Maybe Pacquiao must be a victim of injustice or unreasonableness so he can fully understand the plight of most Filipino people and be a better lawmaker. Maybe, as a famous Filipino athlete, he needed to bring frustration, anger, disappointment and anxiety to his kababayans so he can avoid doing the same thing to them as a public servant.
While he can simply shrug his shoulders to a dubious boxing outcome, he cannot do the same in the halls of the legislative hall of the Philippines where he serves as the Representative of the lone district of Saranggani. Presently, Glan, a town in the southern part of the province is under state of calamity due to flash foods brought by heavy rains. Bradley, the “desert storm” is not enough to displace Pacquiao in the history books but a simple rain have displaced at least 568 families in Glan. This is the best time for their congressman to bring hope not by punching a big, burly man but by overcoming the desperation and disorientation of his constituents.
If his career in politics would flourish in the same way as his boxing career did, then Pacquiao must learn that the people he serves are not just impoverished to bread and water, but to justice, equality, attention and relief as well. If he is sincere as he claims to be in joining public service then he ought to realize that only action can solve the questions elicited by theoretical laws on why the Filipino is poor and why his government is unable to institute pre-emptive and protective measures to avoid gamble of life under raindrops.
He must serve his public with the point of view of a man judged unfairly, neglected deliberately, conned by those in authority. He must retrace his steps back to when he had to box to eat and not just to keep a world title because the Filipino masses are fighting daily battles in order to survive until the next day or until their quality of life improves and not because they need to polish their names in front of the world.
If it must take a big defeat for him to empathize with Filipinos deeply, then so be it. Being a victim of poverty and inequality himself, Pacquiao, the lawmaker, must not confine himself to just reading Bible passages to influence, inspire or shift paradigms; he must move into action by passing practical laws, criticizing governmental actions and instituting real, sensitive and beneficial social reforms.
Often, it takes a defeat for one to realize his true purpose in aiming for victory. Pacquiao’s defeat was necessary for him to gain more – more insights on his personal reasons in defending a title, obtaining the votes of his constituents or spreading the teachings of the Bible. He must see and prove his purpose to achieve completion, perfection and fullness. His road the 7th streak begins anew.