Pacquiao Lost; What Now?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, June 12, 2012 – Read the Pacquiao articles of Edwin Espejo and Allen Estabillo, columnist and correspondent of MindaNews, respectively, writing from this city in MindaNews online yesterday. They wrote on how Pacquiao lost and how the loss has been received locally. The loss should also be viewed from another angle.


Espejo had a detailed analysis of the fight and reported the reactions of the boxing fans in Las Vegas right after the announcement of the decision, of the boxing personalities and in international media showing how the loss was considered “a casino strip stick up” or more popularly, “a highway robbery”. Briefly, Pacquiao’s loss is that of the unbelievable case of a clear winner losing.


Of this Espejo said it well: “But sometimes that is how all boxing stories and personal glories are being played in the world stage.” Just a fight back, even among disappointed Filipinos, Pacquiao won by a split decision even if he was seen to have lost to Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.


Just to add to Espejo’s observation on how surprises play in boxing, here’s how boxing analyst and commentator Patrick L. Stumberg of “Boxing News and Results” saw the fight. He used a “10-9” round-by-round scoring – giving “10” to the winner, “9” to the loser – obviously, the standard scoring of the judges.


The running score by the rounds, all were won by Pacquiao except those in brackets:

Round One: 10-9, Pacquiao (P); Two:[19-19]; Three: 29-28 (P); Four: 39-37 (P); Five: 49-46 (P); Six: 59-55 (P); Seven: 69-64 (P); Eight: 79-73 (P); Nine: 89-82 (P); Ten: [98-92] (P); Eleven: [107-102] (P); Twelve: [116-112] (P).


By the end of Round Twelve, Stumberg summed up the fight: “Good work late from Pacquiao, but methinks Bradley won the round but lost the fight.” [Bold supplied]


The judges disagreed. The article ended: “Final Result: Bradley def. Pacquiao by split decision.”


Yet, before the announcement of the decision, Bradley himself told fight promoter Bob Arum he tried his best but failed to win and his trainer scored the fight giving eight rounds to Pacquiao. Of sports online reports we’ve downloaded, only that in the New York Times did not comment on the unfair decision.


Estabillo described how the more than 7,000 free live viewers at the Lagao gymnasium, including General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and South Cotabato First District Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., cheered as Pacquiao dominated the fight but went out stunned by the split decision in favor of Bradley.  They felt robbed and demanded a return match. By media reports that was the feeling nationwide.


Mayor Antonino-Custodio said “Pacquiao … [has] remained the champion in the eyes and hearts of residents here [who] believe he [has] successfully defended his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt against controversial winner American Timothy Bradley”. The city will give him a hero’s welcome when he comes home.


From this viewpoint, Pacquiao’s loss is sobering. He was cheered by the boxing fans when he scaled the ropes to express his respect for the judges’ decision. He went down the ring on his feet unhurt. Bradley, the champion of the two judges only, was in a wheel chair for a check-up at the hospital.


This is the other angle at which the loss must be viewed. So, what now?


The national clamor is for a rematch. Pride is at the driver’s seat. Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia, is furious; she has sounded the bugle call: Charge! That is not a problem; there is a rematch clause in the contract of this last fight.


What for is the rematch? For Pacquiao to knock out Bradley – to prove he is the real champion. Pacquiao promised that in appeasing his angry fans.


What is there to prove? It is Bradley, not Pacquiao, who has to prove he is the real champion. Virtually all, except the two judges, consider Pacquiao still the champion. Why give Bradley that chance? Let that two-judge championship belt hang on his neck like the legendary albatross.


Is Pacquiao sure to knock out Bradley in a rematch? He promised to do that in their first fight.  He failed! What assurance does he have to do it in the rematch? Bradley also has pride. And, he has the youth and hunger for glory. In the rematch, he will prepare hard to prove the two judges right – he is the real champion, not Pacquiao.


Only one person is the sure winner in the rematch: Bob Arum. He will earn more millions of dollars. He brazenly said that when he announced to the press there will be a rematch.


What now? Pacquiao should sober down. His mother and fans should sober down. They must all weigh the wisdom of retirement.


First: He will retire as still the champion in the eyes, hearts and minds of the boxing fans and the world – leaving Bradley to carry for life the stigma of being the champion of the two judges only.


Second: At 32 or 33, he is at the ripe age to retire from boxing and young enough to chart a new life with the billions of pesos he has rightfully earned.


On retiring from boxing, Pacquiao must take a leave from politics and away from his fawning and scheming so-called political advisers to discern whether to continue or abandon the political path.  He should be wise and humble enough to admit his failure as congressman. What has he done? With his billions and immense popularity, he may be reelected or win as governor of Sarangani.  But what can he do?


Perhaps, it’s best for him to retire from boxing and politics and with his billions go into private life and business freed, as he has avowed, from the vices which he himself has admitted – obviously bred by the bad and opportunistic association that sudden wealth and popularity has brought. It might be best for him to promote boxing among the youth of General Santos City and Sarangani.


He is gifted as a boxer. He developed this gift and became the best in the world not by accident but by rigorous training for each fight.


Is he gifted as a political leader? If he is, he can develop this only by learning – learning from the academe, the practical art of leadership, and the actual immersion in the social, economic and political problems of the people and the country. Getting elected through sheer popularity then spending his time not in Congress and with his constituents but training to defend his world boxing titles is not the way to develop political leadership even if he is gifted with one.


Of Pacquiao’s loss, President Aquino III said that “defeat is an opportunity to become better and reach greater heights”. Obviously, the President is referring to boxing. We hope he means more. (Patricio P.Diaz/MindaNews)