Filipinos were treated with a one-two punch this past week, the kind that makes the heart go proud and a-flutter.
Manny Pacquiao, as always, did not disappoint. He tortured Antonio Margarito like crazy, which was fine by me considering that at one point days before the fight, Margarito and his hombres made fun of coach Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s Disease. Serves you damn right, I muttered to myself as Margarito’s pummeled face was flashed on the TV screen.
It goes without saying that Pacquiao just cemented his reputation as the best boxer in the world and one with a huge, huge heart at that. I’m not just talking about the fact that he has been sharing his millions with the less fortunate, at least in his province, but also that, in the 11th round, he stopped short of going down on his knees to plead to the referee to stop the fight because Margarito had been so brutalized it no longer looked like a boxing match but a torture session. Pacquiao later said that boxing was not about killing the opponent.
Earlier in the day, I watched — on YouTube, where else? — the “60 Minutes” profile of Pacquiao, the one where he was asked who he thought was the greatest boxer in the world. Pacquiao paused and then asked “Including me?” Yes, including you, the host said. “Me,” Pacquiao replied. And he said it without the bravado that you normally see in Tyson or that ass of a boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There’s no disputing Pacquiao is the greatest right now, I think. As promoter Bob Arum himself admitted, he had never seen a boxer with the talent and gift of Manny Pacquiao — not even Ali the greatest.
What distinguishes Pacquiao from all the rest is his heart, I think. I mean, the guy walks to the ring with smile in his face, genuinely enjoying not just the adulation but what he is doing. Now contrast that with the growling face of other fighters — expressions that are decidedly put-on. With Pacquiao, what you see is what you get. I mean, the guy is good-natured enough to show up on The Jimmy Kimmel show where he had been made the butt of a joke, but Pacquiao either did not see how he was being made fun of or he genuinely is such a nice guy. “Sometimes When We Touch” sounds so earnest when sang by Pacquiao.
Filipinos are mighty proud to have somebody like Manny Pacquiao. I think, too, that boxing should be extremely happy to have as the greatest in his era somebody who loves and respects the game and who has shown to all of us that, when you really work hard at what you do, you will succeed.
This – the working hard part, that is – brings me to Liz Uy, the current squeeze of President Noynoy Aquino after he dumped the lovely Shalani Soledad.
Liz Uy has been the talk of the town in the Philippines and not just because she is the president’s stylist – I didn’t, to be honest, know that presidents needed stylists — but also because Aquino seems to have found his match. There’s talk that wedding bells are going to be heard soon in the presidential palace.
So far, most Filipinos know her as the ex-girlfriend of actor John Lloyd Cruz. I’m sure Filipinos will get to know Uy better in the coming days.