BUDYONG: PACQUIAO: Epitome of Sportsmanship

MARIKINA CITY (MindaNews/19 September) — Manny Pacquiao, who has captured the adulation of boxing enthusiasts around the world for his incomparable boxing talent, said it well: ‘It was unsportsmanlike.’

Manny was referring to the so-called 4th round knockout win of Floyd Mayweather (Sept. 18) over Victor Ortiz.

I do not qualify as a boxing fan. I find it much too brutal to be considered as a ‘sport’ in a now supposedly civilized world.

Still, I cannot help but admire Manny Pacquiao.

It is not so much because he is the only Filipino or, for that matter, the only boxer in the world who has ever won the championship belts in eight world boxing divisions.

The reason for my admiration is that Manny Paquiao has demonstrated publicly his innate sportsmanship time and again in such a cruel ‘sport’.

I don’t remember who it was that Manny knocked out in one of his more spectacular fights. But I did see a TV clip on that bout over an international news network that I will never forget.

It featured the ever gallant Manny Pacquiao going over to his fallen rival and trying – with his still gloved hands – to help the poor fellow get back on his feet.

Manny had probably made the gesture several times before. But that was one sight of Manny, the magnanimous victor,  that spoke volumes about his innate goodness as a human being.

What makes Manny Pacquiao the acknowledged world boxing icon that he is?

The immediate answer is his inborn talent in boxing that was honed by discipline and training through the years.

But over and above all that, I guess Manny’s reliance on the grace of the Almighty plays an important role in giving him the strength, the determination, and, the guts to excel in the bloody game of boxing.

Even if to some people, Manny’s kneeling in prayer at his corner before and after each fight may look ritualistic, the thing is that he does with apparent sincerity. And he says so openly.

How many of us so-called Christians practice our religion when we begin to -or end the – exercise of whatever profession we might have as openly as Manny does?

Not too many, I guess.

And if there’s anyone else to thank for Manny’s sportsmanship that he has consistently displayed in the boxing arena, it has to be his nanay, Dionesia.

It is to his Nanay that Manny attributes his ‘religiosity’ that seems to be indelibly embedded in his person even now that he is has made a multibillion fortune from his fists.

Which states a lot of how mothers can exert a lifelong influence for good over their children.

At this point in his career, even if I don’t exactly love boxing as a sport, I must say: May the good Lord protect Manny from harm and bless Dionesia, his mom. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel is dubbed the “Father of the Local Government Code.” He defied the Marcos dictatorship while serving as mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, was named the first Local Governments Secretary in the post-Marcos era, later elected senator and for several years was Senate President.)