Win or Lose Pacquiao is an Icon
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
For the first time, Pacquiao was caught on cam in tears and it wasn’t in the ring after being KOed by Marquez. It was in his hotel room after seeing the reaction of his countrymen to his loss against Marquez. Seeing the disappointment and collective frustration and pain by his countrymen hurt him more than any of the powerful punches that actually put him down the canvas.
Even when he was physically broken down he was still thinking of his countrymen more than himself. One of his priorities when he got home was providing relief goods to those who suffered from typhoon Pablo just days before the fight December 4. His province mates and the whole of Mindanao were battered. Places that never experienced a typhoon in decades were devastated. A total of 700 or more lives have been lost and billions of pesos in crops damaged. December 17, on his birthday he distributed relief goods to affected places like New Bataan, Compostela Valley. He also spent time with the inmates of Gen Santos city.
Critics can say that he’s just a congressman bolstering support from his constituents. Most Pinoys know better. A fighter easily considered the best of his generation wouldn’t be able to shed tears, if he didn’t feel the suffering of his people from his loss ADDED TO the natural devastation.
His mother Pac Mom, Aling (Mam) Dionisia to most of Pinoy’s, naturally wants to convince her son to stop boxing and retire for good. At 34 he’s not young but he’s not ‘old’ either. He shouldn’t retire at age 34 for the same reason Marquez who knocked him out, is still fighting at age 39. His retirement is his to determine. Let him go out in his own terms and his decision. No one should have to coerce him to make the decision, not even his own mother.
Aling Dionisia also made public her disagreement wither son’s conversion to Born Again Christian from Catholicism. They even had an on air tiff on GMA seven as the two argued about it. Born Again or Catholic, it is Manny’s right as a Filipino to choose his faith. He could convert to Islam if he wanted to the way “The Greatest of All Time”, Cassius Clay did and became known thereafter as Muhammad Ali.
Freedom to choose one’s religion is one of the hallmarks of a real democracy. Ali was praised by the world for it because it also became a political statement for the civil rights movement. We certainly cannot and should not deny our hero the right that we are supposed to give every Filipino.
Right now Manny Pacquiao is still easily one of the best fighters in the world. It would be a shame to make him stop. Cheering for a winner is expected. It is when our hero goes through tremendous adversity that real fans can show their devotion for him. He’s fought for us, sang for us and became the face of our nation to the world. This is the best time to carry Congressman Pacquiao and raise him up on our collective shoulders. How many times has he lifted up the Filipino spirit to incalculable heights? Too many to mention. This time he needs us.