Balewala ang Sakit
Basta May Pangarap
The fatigue doesn’t matter,
The pain doesn’t matter,
As long as you have a dream
I am fired up about tonight’s Pacquiao vs. Clottey matchup. Pacquiao is one of my heroes. There is a movie in the Philippines about Pacquiao, starring Jericho “Echo” Morales and Bea Alonso, which details how Manny had a religious experience and cleaned up his life to take his game to the next level.
Manny started out in poverty in General Santos City, Philippines. One day his dad just never came back. He had moved in with another woman and abandoned the family.
Manny got into boxing and moved to Manila, the capital. His first fights were rough. A left-hander, Manny really only had the left hand. His “strategy,” such as it was, was to bomb on opponents with his strong left hand.
At some point he met up with Freddie Roach, a phenomenal boxing coach and mentor. Although Roach has Parkinson’s (He can be seen trembling in video.), he has a razor sharp mind and an uncanny way of analyzing opponents.
I was in Camiguin Island in the Philippines when I saw Pacquiao destroy Diaz with a tight, compact hook. Diaz fell face-first onto the canvas, which is an indicator of a devastating knockout.
I was in Dumaguete, Philippines when Pacquiao dominated Morales. The fight played on a big screen TV in one of the waterfront restaurants, and the big buck ex-pats had reserved front row tables. I was seated at the bar. In time as the fight progressed, I noticed behind me a crowd of Filipinos gathering. The restaurant was open at the front looking out onto the ocean, and it was a solid wall of Filipinos, in addition to the standing room only crowd inside the restaurant. The noise was deafening when Pacquiao knocked down Morales. A day or two after the fight, I saw an interview with Morales, who was wearing big “Robocop” sunglasses to try to hide the beating his face had taken.
Several reasons for Manny’s huge success:
- He Developed His Weak Hand. Too many martial artists are totally dependent upon their dominant hand and foot. Pacquiao only became a great boxer after he learned to use his weaker right hand.
- He Trains Hard. I read of a Filipino sportswriter who saw Manny train in the Philippines. At the end of the workout, his partners start hitting him in the unprotected gut and ribs, then start beating him with a stick! Watching the brutality of it was so uncomfortable for the sportswriter that he almost shouted out for them to stop.
- He Accepts Coaching. Manny doesn’t try to go it alone. He sought out the best coach, Freddy Roach, and does what he says. Pacman does not cop an attitude that he knows it all or that he is better than his coach.
- He Improves. Sports commentator Jim Rome says that he has never seen any athlete of any sport show the continual improvement that Manny has. I came late to watching Pacquiao, and fight after fight he is continually better, with every win (against stronger opponents) becoming ever more convincing. How many martial artists are content to rest on their imagined laurels, never trying to improve themselves or the system?
- He’s Likeable. There are some very good boxers with zero fan base because they are unlikeable (Floyd Mayweather who?). Manny is humble, good natured, and doesn’t trash talk. He doesn’t get caught up in an ego trip, but simply delivers the goods in the ring. I’m fortunate that the men I’ve trained with have been great guys. I’ve decided that I don’t care how “deadly” someone is, I’m not going to waste my time with an ass. Nor will I ever become that person. In writing a blog and stating opinions I may step on some toes and offend someone, but my goal is to be the type of guy that you want as a friend, which at the end of the day is more important than being some ego-tripping poser trying to prove himself at everyone else’s expense.