Last Sunday morning, (you wouldn’t believe it) I prayed a lot. And cursed, too. Just a couple of hours before the fight, I was testing my culinary skills on an original recipe (pork stew, chinese style) locally known as “Humba”, and pancit guisado using that delicious flat noodles that I recently discovered—when we suddenly had a freakin’ brownout. I called up and asked my secretary to call up and inform VECO that a man is about to become insane if power will not be back before fight time. Specifically, pay per view time. Well, VECO promised to be able to restore power before the fight. My houseguests, law partners and staff who came all the way to my home in Talamban did not come, I know, for my pancit and humba. I didn’t know if expletives might just ignite, spark or restore power in time for the fight, but I experimented on it anyway. To be sure, I also prayed. Minutes before ten o’clock, we had power. It’s now time to pray for Pacman.
I am no boxing pundit but I believed in the assessments made by the experts prior to the much touted dream match between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya. I even saluted my friend Jingo, Cebu’s boxing guru, who went against local fervid sentiment for Manny and predicted a de la Hoya win on the tenth by TKO. Having seen the earlier fights of de la Hoya and the caliber of (some say, cleverly chosen) fighters that he sent down to the canvass, I feared the analyses of these experts were simply anchored on common boxing sense. The smaller Pacman is simply no match for the heavier and taller de la Hoya. I am a lawyer, and no lawyer ever wants his case to be proven wrong. But in this case, man, I was never this happy seeing Pacquiao prove his critics, and myself, wrong, and in so grand a manner. It was a mismatch alright but it was the other way around. Size simply did not matter. Pacquiao has shown to have evolved into a complete fighter—a far cry from the brawler that we knew before. In this fight, he showed patience and boxed. Manny practically dominated all the rounds and in the last couple of rounds, it was as if Manny Pacquiao was just sparring with a punching bag! De la Hoya was a pitiful picture of resignation, of utter surrender. It was an astounding win for Manny, and for the many boxing pundits–a more astounding loss for the Golden Boy.
It appears that de la Hoya not only didn’t have the trigger anymore as trainer Roach had predicted, he did not appear to have the heart as Eric Morales had when he fought Pacquiao, especially in their third fight. After the eighth round, de la Hoya’s practical mind prevailed over his fighter’s heart. Realizing that he had not won any of the past eight rounds, and could not possibly win any of the remaining, or worse, a knockdown already appears to be imminent–waved the white flag. De la Hoya claimed, after the fight, that his loss to Manny is almost “expected”, but his face betrayed a different insight—he was simply shocked and overwhelmed by the speed, power, and the much-improved boxing skills of Manny Pacquiao.
It’s a good thing Manny proved many experts wrong. Now, experts will look at Pacquiao in an entirely different light. This staggering upset has most assuredly etched his name in boxing history as one of the greatest.