A fighting morning
Like so many other people on this good earth, my husband Rob Chien and I watched the recent Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout billed the “Fight of the Century.”
With daughter Nicole, we headed to Aga and Charlene Muhlach’s home, bringing a cornucopia of junk food as contribution to the morning’s festivities.
(Nicole didn’t watch the fight; instead she spent much of the day with Aga’s children Atasha and Andres, and Aga’s grandchildren Alejandro and Adriana.)
There was a slight delay before the main match, due to the number of pay-per-view purchases being made just moments before the fight.
It was one hugely anticipated match between two of the world’s best boxers.
Hollywood celebrities and sports figures came out to watch the fight in Las Vegas: Beyoncé, JayZ, Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Steffi Graf, and Andre Agassi, just to name a few. Jamie Foxx sang the National Anthem for the United States, while Gail Banawis and The Word Chorale represented the Philippines with “Lupang Hinirang.”
(In my humble opinion, the Philippines won this round with that beautiful, stirring rendition.)
All of us in the room cheered as the boxers made their way to the ring.
Of course, everyone was behind Manny (including my American husband, whose hands were cold and clammy for the duration of the fight).
We were hoping for a show and, like every Filipino watching, a victory. Well, that didn’t happen.
And the bout itself was underwhelming, not the brawl that I was expecting.
There were flashes of excitement, which elicited screams from the little audience in the Muhlach family room, but those flashes were few and far between.
To be fair, Mayweather is a technically proficient fighter.
I surmise that he is one boxer that has calculated down to the micropunch exactly what he needs to do and how much of it he needs.
He probably watched and analyzed Manny’s previous bouts with a variety of opponents, and has the Pacman’s moves memorized in his head.
He probably saw through all of Manny’s moves, was aware of presently existing weaknesses and injuries (if any) and capitalized on them.
He was smart. And thus he won.
However we slice it, fairly and squarely, he won.
However, it must be said that Mayweather, if I’m to gather from the audience’s reaction to him last Sunday morning, isn’t the most beloved athlete around.
Amid allegations of domestic violence, a seemingly arrogant mien and the desire for money (which is, incidentally, his nickname), Money Mayweather isn’t the most liked or admired.
He may go down as one of the sport’s greatest boxers for his achievements in the ring, but not for much else.
Heart on his sleeve Manny, although he lost this fight (this wasn’t his first loss, but losing is losing, and it’s never fun) seems to have gained the love and respect of nearly everyone at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
He entered the ring with a smile on his face and his heart on his sleeve, carrying the hopes of every Filipino along with him.
Millions of his countrymen bore witness to this fight, having waited for years.
Manny is a symbol of the “poor boy done good” by virtue of his perseverance, hard work and God-given athletic ability.
Long hours of training have honed him into one of the best fighters in the world.
One loss (or even six) cannot take away what he has done for boxing, as well as for the country.
No, Manny is not by any means perfect. That said, no one could ever claim to be.
But what he brings to every single fight is plenty of heart and that smile on his face, symbolic of the fight that every single Filipino fights every single day.
We charge, we chase, we hit and get hit back, and despite our best efforts we don’t always win our own battles.
However, for as long as we remain standing, resilient, humble, and keep in our sights exactly what we fight for and for whom, all else becomes irrelevant.
Manny may not have been the victor on Sunday, but he remains our champion. He inspires us all to keep fighting our good fights, to keep punching, jabbing and chasing. He inspires us to keep standing. And that is more than enough for me. Thank you, Manny. Mabuhay ka.