Appreciate Pacquiao while he is still there

DANDAN BANTUGAN COLUMN

We definitely agree with the observation that the Filipinos should better appareciare Manny Pacquiao while he is still around.
Pacquiao’s victory yesterday against Timothy Bradley may not be the kind of win that Pacquiao has been noted for in the past. But the Filipino boxing fans should give Pacquiao what is due to him.
We observed Pacquiao stood in the ring apron at the MGM Grand Arena and soaked in the fans’ adulation. He knows that these nights are in short supply now, and so do the fans
The crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas yesterday noon (Philippine time) turned rapturous as the chorus from Katy Perry’s “Roar” blared over the Arena’s sound system.
With lights the color of the Philippine flag draped over the venue, Pacquiao walked toward the ring for his rematch with Timothy Bradley to a crowd that favored him at a 99-1 ratio.
Undoubtedly Pacquiao has selected the poppy anthem with lyrics that reference boxing icons like Rocky Balboa (“Eye of the Tiger”) and Muhammad Ali (“floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee”) as his rallying message to adorers that, though he’s not the fighter he once was, he is still a great champion. In 8 divisions, no less.
The first Bradley fight in June of 2012, called by many “the worst decision in boxing history,” was the sort of injustice all Filipinos could relate to. From the days of colonialism to today’s corrupt political environment, wrongs are openly acknowledged but rarely, if ever, rectified.
But yesterday, Pacquiao got the opportunity to do something that many Filipinos wish they could: he took the law into his own hands.
Facing a younger, if similarly battle-worn foe, Pacquiao fought neck-and-neck with the American champion for 6 rounds before turning the fight in his favor in round 7.
Awakening his mean streak, Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) rocked the resolute Bradley into the ropes before unleashing a volley of punches that sought to remove the 30-year-old from Palm Springs, California, from consciousness.
In recent years Pacquiao would step back and ask the referee to spare his foe from lasting damage, Pacquiao unloaded mercilessly, forcing Bradley to employ a 4-corner defense to avoid being knocked out.
Pacquiao won a unanimous decision last Sunday despite out landing Bradley by a smaller margin than he had in the first fight (198 to 141 in second fight, compared to 253 to 159 in first fight).
Pacquiao beat his weary foe as if he was an amalgamation of the detractors who said he was a spent force after suffering the first loss to Bradley, followed by the sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
The Pacquiao who avenged the loss to Bradley wasn’t the best version of himself that had graced the ring. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s long-time trainer, admitted that Pacquiao lacked the explosiveness he had in the first fight.
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