I visit BLH almost hourly because it is the most comprehensive site for both the news and commentary I need as a fan of boxing. I never really post anything because I honestly don’t believe that I have anything to add. However, in the midst of all of this coverage of Pacquiao-Marquez 4 (or should we call it Marquez-Pacquiao now?), I felt like something was personally missing.
You should know upfront – I am a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao. I was a fan of Manny Pacquaio before I was a fan of boxing. My parents were born in the Philippines, and we try to go back at least once every 7-8 years. So when I heard about this “new” Filipino tearing through the ranks that was pretty much my size, I instantly connected. By this time, it was already 2006 – so the first fight I saw was Pacquiao-Morales II. I loved the ferocity, the heart, and determination that I saw from these two warriors. After that, I just had to watch Pacquiao’s fights with Barrera, Ledwaba, Marquez, and Morales the first time. Pacquiao’s love for fighting, aggression, happy-go-lucky attitude, and rags-to-riches story brought me to re-watch those fights over and over again. I never thought I'd be one to order PPV for the fights, but the first PPV that I bought was Pacquiao-Marquez II.
I come from a community in which I have become a boxing “expert” simply because not many people I know follow it. So, I am always asked why I love this sport. I tell them I believe that no other sport embodies pushing yourself to the edges of human will, physical boundaries, and mental fortitude. (And cue my wife rolling her eyes for being too philosophical when all she sees is two people beating the crap out of each other.) There are no highs in sports as high as knockout victories and no lows as low as watching your fighter lying motionless on the ground. As I learned more about other fighters, the sweet science, and the not-so-sweet politics of this sport, I fell in love with boxing. Still, there were 2-3 days a year that were truly special to me – Manny Pacquiao fight night. For those nights, I didn’t have to worry about Manny’s indiscretions, his supposedly PED-enhanced body, the distractions of training camp and daily life, his handlers, that he was fighting boxers that were sometimes tailor-made for him, or that he wasn't fighting Floyd Mayweather; I could simply enjoy watching the man slowly make his way to the top of the boxing world. Even though the same fire was not there in his later fights, he was still Manny Pacquiao – the man that started this boxing journey for me.
And fast-forward to December 8. It was a fight of ups and downs, but then BOOM – it was all over in a flash. Because I couldn’t stay seated on my couch during this fight, I was just standing in silence. My thoughts drifted from one to another… C’mon Manny, get up. Is he dead? Manny’s never been knocked out like this before, has he? Where did Marquez get this kind of power from? What elite fighters come back the same after being knocked out so brutally? Where does this rank in my all time low sports moments? It was over 15 minutes after the interviews before I could venture over into the next room to tell my wife that Manny Pacquiao had just been knocked out cold.
It’s almost a week later, and I still feel the sting of Manny’s defeat. In time, I’m sure I’ll feel the same as it seems everyone else is feeling – it was a great night of boxing and that this was the icing on the cake for Marquez’s all time great legacy in the sport. But right now, I can’t help but mourn the vicious defeat of the boxer that inspired me the most in the sport.
So, what fighters first brought you into the sport and what goes through your mind when you see them on the wrong end of a potential knockout of a year?