Pacquiao’s new religion and the national anguish over Marquez victory
The defeat of Pacquiao in the fight against Timothy Bradley was not really painful. Like the 80 out of 81 international boxing judges, Filipinos knew in their minds and hearts that their idol did not really lose that fight.
Either the fix was on in Vegas which was likely or the two judges who voted against Pacquiao were smoking something that day.
The fight stats showing the number of regular and power punches for both boxers clearly showed that Pacquiao should have been rightfully declared the winner.
But this fight with Juan Manuel Marquez was a shocker. In the sixth round, with one second left, Marquez smashed Pacquiao’s jaw with a solid perfectly timed short right while Pacquiao was fiercely attacking him.
Pacquiao crashed face down on the canvas completely motionless for a scary two minutes after. Referee Kenny Bayless did not bother to count. He knew Pacquiao would not be able to get up.
Filipinos all over the world who watched the fight are so deeply emotionally attached to Pacquiao and are so used to seeing him win were in a state of shock. They remained standing or sitting like frozen zombies unable or unwilling to believe what they had seen. Many cried. The mental and emotional pain lingered on long after the fight – many resorting to overdoses of alcohol to ease the anguish and maybe help to erase repeated nightmare images of Manny’s contorted face pushed backward by Marquez’s right glove followed by him falling unconscious to the canvas.
There was no shortage of comments:
“It was just a lucky punch. Arum should immediately ask for a rematch.”
“He got careless. He wanted so badly to prove he can score a knockout after his last three mediocre fights.”
“His reactions are not the same. It shows he’s now old and should quit before he becomes a vegetable like Ali.
Some, like his mother Mommy Dionisia, blamed his loss to his change of religion.
In an interview in General Santos, Pacquiao’s hometown, Mommy D said, “That’s what he gets for changing his religion….Since the ‘Protestant’ pastors came into his life, he has not focus on his boxing.”
She does not approve of Pacquiao leaving the Catholic Church. She wants him to quit and become a Catholic again.
Many have noticed that in the last two fights which ended in defeat, Pacquiao did not enter the ring with a rosary around his neck as he did before.
Like some, will Pacquiao believe that he lost the last two fights because he abandoned the Catholic Church and that God punished him?
While I am a Catholic, I hope he does not believe as such. If so, then his belief would be as shallow as those who go to church on Sundays with the thought that if they don’t they will be unlucky in business or in some other aspects of their lives. Believing like so is no different from plain superstition.
If Pacquiao is sincerely committed to loving God and his fellowmen as God commands him to, he will understand that winning or losing a boxing match, no matter what importance the world may place on it – is nothing more than just a mere incidental in his life.
He will also understand that God expresses his love for us not only in giving us successes, joys and pleasures – but also in giving us failures, pains and suffering – in order to make us humble and bring us closer to Him.
A part of the reality of Manny’s life is that as a boxer, he became a great one. But that is a very small part of the total reality of life. Another reality is that our life on earth is very temporary and everything ends sooner or later including our lives. We tend to think that the only reality is what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our senses – and that’s all there is to it.
Life is so much more than “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” or focusing our directions on one big continuous effort to gain wealth, power and fame per se. There is so much more to total reality than that which we commonly perceive.
I hope Manny really finds God which can only happen if God finds him first which will be if Manny is truly sincere in finding Him. His loss to Bradley and Marquez can be real blessings in a spiritual sense and from which he can emerge as a man completely trusting in God’s love, mercy and accepting His will – and be at peace with himself.
On the other hand, if like Ricky Hatton, he turns to alcohol, drugs and other destructive escape activities because his ego cannot accept this devastating loss to Marquez, he can wind up like so many pitiful old washed up boxers- ranting about their past glories with minds rotted by substance abuse.
I hate to see that happen to a really great champion who has brought so much pride, honor and great entertainment to the Filipino people and the world.
What should Manny do at this difficult time?
He should spend much time in solitude – away from everyone – and be with God alone asking Him important questions whose answers he will find from his deepest self.
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