Back in 2012, I wrote about #PacMay

2012

Back in 2012, as a sophomore journalism student, we were tasked in our Feature Writing class to write a historical feature story. I wrote about the then-pending Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, in the context of big fights and old fighters fighting late in their careers. Now that the fight has happened, many were disappointed about it. Perhaps this is the reason why. Below is the article reproduced unedited.

Why Pacquiao-Mayweather Should Happen ASAP

Manny Pacquiao has been a professional boxer since he was 16. He started his career as a tiny 106-pounder, and has since moved up to be an elite welterweight fighter, while still maintaining an almost flawless 54-3-2 win-loss-draw record.

When he faced Erik Morales in 2006, he lost a close fight, bowing out to Morales via split decision. He hasn’t been defeated since then.

Floyd Mayweather has been a pro since 1996. As an amateur, his career began, like Manny, in the 106-pound division. Also, like Manny, he has also progressed into becoming a force to be reckoned with at 145.

The first loss of his career has not come yet. He holds a perfect 42-0 win-loss record.
Both fighters’ camps claim that the number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the world belongs to their team. One is an eight-division world champion; the other, an undefeated champion of five weight classes.

Simply put, both are two of the best pugilists the boxing world has to offer today.
One problem remains: they still can’t figure out who the better man is. They can’t find a way to fight each other.

This is not the first time a mega-fight such as Pacquiao-Mayweather will be delayed. Boxing’s history is littered with fights involving big-time fighters that never happen at the right time. Sometimes they happen; it’s just that the fighters involved are past their prime, resulting in a lackluster battle.

The most recent example of this is the 2010 fight between Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins. Jones and Hopkins first squared off in 1993 in a middleweight championship fight. Jones walked away from that fight with the belt around his waist, defeating Hopkins via unanimous decision.

Their first fight was controversial, having a number of illegal blows. Also, a tussle involving the referee, ring entourage, and security guards ensued after the sixth round.

A rematch was imminent. However it happened a bit too late: 17 years later, on April 3, 2010.
The fight was hyped up by showing how much each fighter wanted to fight the other. Sadly, with all the promotion the match got, the fight did not live up to expectations.

Although Hopkins got his revenge by winning a unanimous decision, the fight was slow and dragging. The hype remained just as hype. There was no follow-up.

Evander Holyfield, a former heavyweight champion, was at his career’s best in the mid to late 1990s. Perhaps his most memorable moment in the ring was with Mike Tyson in 1997, when Tyson infamously bit Holyfield in the ear.

Later in his career in 2007, at age 45, he challenged Sultan Ibragimov for the WBO heavyweight championship. Ibragimov defeated Holyfield via unanimous decision.

Holyfield’s age showed in the fight, as it became a pretty boring match. Exchanges lasted only two to three punches long. Neither of the fighters actually dominated his opponent.

One would expect something more from a former heavyweight champion, even against a much younger fighter. In this fight, Holyfield disappointed.

“Sugar” Shane Mosley, who holds a 46-7-1 win-loss-draw record with one no-contest, also became a champion in three weight classes. Some of his notable feuds since turning pro in 1993 came against Oscar de la Hoya and Vernon Forrest. He has also defeated Antonio Margarito in 2009 for the WBA Super Welterweight title at age 38.

After that Margarito bout, he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sergio Mora, and his most recent opponent Manny Pacquiao.

Mosley’s performance in his last three fights were underwhelming at best, losing unanimous decisions to Mayweather and Pacquiao, while fighting to a draw against Mora.

Not even the great Muhammad Ali was spared from this trend. Despite amassing a 56-5 win-loss record, three of those five defeats came in his final four fights.

His last two fights before retiring for good were losses. One of those was against Larry Holmes in 1980, 20 years after his first professional bout. This was the only time Ali was defeated by technical knockout (TKO), as his corner stopped the fight in after the 10th round.

Though these battles involve fighters from whom much are expected, not all delayed fights turn out terribly. Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns squared off first in 1981 for the welterweight championship. Leonard won that battle.

Eight years later in 1989, the two fighters had their rematch, a title fight now at 168 pounds. Promoters billed this contest as “The War”.

Both fighters provided a 12-round spectacle, with the final two rounds going back and forth. Hearns almost pulled of a win with his performance, but Leonard stole the 12th round, dominating Hearns, scoring a knockdown in the process.

The fight happened late in their careers, but they still delivered, putting on a show that made it enjoyable for viewers to watch. However, although the battle happened as their careers were winding down, they were still relatively young then, as both were in their early 30s.

The Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout, if it ever happens, may quite possibly be the biggest – and richest – fight in the history of boxing. As Francis Ochoa, assistant sports editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer said, it’s rare for the top-two pound-for-pound fighters to be able to face each other.
“Usually, for example, number one is a heavyweight, number two is a flyweight. In this case their both welterweights. [Pacquiao and Mayweather] belong to the same weight class and the same age category. How does that happen in history and you never get to see them fight at all? It’s a tragedy,” Ochoa said.

Which is why the fight must happen now. History suggests it. Older fighters in fights disappoint more often than not. These two boxers must square off sooner rather than later. It will be better for Manny, it will be better for Floyd, it will be better for everyone eagerly awaiting the fight.
In the end, everyone’s a winner, because even the loser of the fight will get a huge paycheck afterwards. #

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Nipples

It’s been a while since I wrote about a dream. Maybe this was triggered by an Ask.fm question I received about dreams. The second professor mentioned here was probably present because I was trying to remember a previous interesting lesson we had late this semester.
 
***
 
It was the first day of class in a subject that seems like a feature writing class or something similar. The professor, seated in front, was the same professor I had for my feature writing subject. You know what happens during the first meeting: syllabus is explained, assignments and requirements are given..
 
The professor had with her a bowl. She stood up, walked towards the middle of the room, right beside me, and placed the small, a-little-over-palm-sized bowl in front of me. I had no idea what the content was. It looked like hot prawn salad, but I couldn’t be sure. Then finally, the prof told the class to draw lots to determine the story assignments, and that the bowl was in front of me. Ahh. So that’s what it was.
 
I got a number, so has everyone else in class. Yet there was still A LOT of numbers left in the bowl. Prof probably prepared hundreds of numbers for a class of less than 30.
 
The professor wrote on the board what each number or range of numbers meant, what stories corresponded to them.
 
Strangely, the professor, a female, became a male, the same one I had in one of my classes this year.
 
He asked who got the first story written on the board. The student was named “Dos” and he wrote this on the board He then called for the second student. “Juan” was his name, and wrote it on the board as well. “Una si Dos, ngayon Juan,” professor said. It was a one-two punch, if you know what I mean.
 
Trying to avoid a “Tres” or a similar name, prof called on the student seated front row, leftmost. “Okay, miss, what number did you get?”
 
And she said the number.
 
“Okay. What’s you name?”
 
“Naples,” she said (pronounced “ney-pols”). I forgot the last name. 
 
I silently laughed in my mind. It sounds like a body part, nipple. I thought of how funny it would be if the professor actually wrote “Nipples” as her name.
 
He wrote an N on the board. Then an I.
 
Oh my goodness it will come true.
 
P.
 
P.
 
At this point, one student towards the front who had his head down sleeping, rose up shocked at what he was seeing as I was. The students beside me were suppressing laughter. I was looking around and a great majority were doing this.
 
L.
 
E.
 
S.
 
I was preventing it from coming out, lowering my head, my face was buried in my bag laughing so hard. Then the inevitable happened. The whole room burst in laughter. Naples was trying to hold it back. Laughing in shame, she called the prof’s attention.
 
He wrote over the I and P with an A, and continued the discussion, as if nothing happened. But the mishap had been done. And it gave the class a lot of joy.

A Battle of Redemption

(This was originally submitted as a requirement for my Sports Journalism class, J196, when we were asked to write a sports column.)

When the two fighters square off April 13, it won’t be just another big fight for them. For Manny Pacquiao, it is a shot at redeeming the loss he suffered in 2012 against his current opponent. For Timothy Bradley, it is a chance to prove that he really can beat Pacquiao, after their first tiff ended controversially.

As for me, I’m still waiting for the Pacman to unleash his inner animal; the instinct that brought him the fame and fortune. The instinct that made him almost undefeated in close to a decade. The instinct that allowed him to topple Mexican pugilists Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Antonio Margarito, Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, and Brit Ricky Hatton.

The instinct that, sadly, has been missing since 2010.

His last win by knockout or TKO came in November 2009 against Miguel Cotto, where he won via 12th round TKO.

But after that, beginning with his next bout, the Joshua Clottey snoozefest, Manny Pacquiao won fights by decision. It became the norm. He still is a very elusive fighter, very quick, very agile. He still had the high-level skill set enough for him to remain at least a top-five pound-for-pound boxer.

But he hasn’t finished anyone since Cotto.

How many times has it been reported in the news that Pacquiao will win via knockout in x number of rounds?

Rappler reported last week that Pacquiao’s sparring partner Julian Rodriguez predicted a fifth round knockout for the Saranggani province congressman. In Manny’s previous fight against Brandon Rios, Freddie Roach said the Filipino will triumph in six rounds. He won the fight, but he did so via unanimous decision. He didn’t even get a knockdown.

In his previous fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, his trainer predicted a win for him, tweeting, “See @MannyPacquiao put the rivalry to rest with a KO.” He didn’t specify a round, but he saw a win in sight.

We all know how that turned out: Manny’s worst loss after eating a solid counter right hook from Marquez which resulted in a knockout.

Even Roach himself said after the Rios fight that Manny could have won via knockout or TKO, but Pacquiao took it easy in round 12. The article’s headline was “No KO? ‘Pacquiao’s compassion got in the way – Roach’”.

Manny’s string of lacklustre performances – at least by Manny Pacquiao standards – has led analysts and other boxers, most notably the pompous Floyd Mayweather Jr., to write him off, to call him washed up, a has-been, a shell of his former self. They’ve said that the sun is setting on Manny Pacquiao’s career.

I see two reasons for the decline: one is age, the other is politicking. Reason number 2 seems most plausible.

Maybe the compassion he has shown for his opponents since 2010 is linked with his being a congressman. Who would want a public official who pulverizes and knocks people unconscious? Perhaps Manny was trying to preserve that image. Look at his timeline of fights. His run of underwhelming fights began the year he won a seat in Congress. It couldn’t have been age because it would be too fast a decline if age were the reason.

Politics turned Pacquiao from one-man wrecking crew, out to crush all who stand in his way, to a too-nice guy. He might be forgetting that fans are entertained by knockouts and TKOs, not lopsided unanimous decision wins. Close contests, those that may go either fighter’s way, are fun to watch as well, but those are the most controversial fights. One only has to look at Pacquiao’s history with Marquez.

A win is a win, anyway it comes. But right now, Manny Pacquiao needs a definitive win because he is at that stage where he has a lot to prove: that he is still a legitimate top pound-for-pound fighter, that he still has that killer instinct, and that he is the rightful winner of his 2012 robbery versus Timothy Bradley.

For Bradley, a definitive win is needed, or else he will just be a fighter who had his win over Pacquiao handed to him, who didn’t really win their previous encounter

For Pacquiao, a knockout alone will be his redemption ticket.

Come April 13, it will be a battle of redemption.

Solo: my Holi Festival adventure

Ito marahil ang pinakamalungkot na biyahe ko sa buong buhay ko so far. At ang pinuntahan ko pang lugar ay matao at napaka-festive. Feeling ko talaga wala ako sa lugar!

Ito ang Holi Festival ng India na ginanap sa SM Mall of Asia by the Bay. 200 pesos ang entrance fee. Sa loob, maraming mga Indian (malamang, dahil festival nila ito). Pero marami ring mga dayuhang puti. May nakausap akong isang Swiss na arkitektong tatlong taon nang naninirahan sa Pilipinas. Ngunit tumanggi siyang magpa-interview on camera.

Ang nainterview ko lamang ay si Raklesh, ‘yung nagsasalita tungkol sa chaat items o Indian street food sa kalagitnaan ng video. Ngunit kahit siya ay ayaw magpa-on camera. Boses lang.

Panoorin niyo na lang ang solitary adventure ko:

On Bandwagon Fans

I never fail to hear someone accuse another of being a bandwagon fan whenever the NBA Playoffs are around, especially when it comes to the Finals. One would start cheering for a team, and another person would ask, “Really? You’re a fan of ? Since when?”

I get their point. And those bandwagon fans also annoy me sometimes, especially when they start talking as if they’ve been a fan of the team for years. Ask them who the backup center of the team is and they won’t give you an answer.

But there’s nothing wrong with being a bandwagoner. Everyone starts there. I jumped on the Sacramento Kings bandwagon in 2002 after their championship-deserving performance versus the Lakers. I jumped on the Detroit Pistons bandwagon in 2004 after manhandling the Lakers in the Finals (a well-deserved beating for the Lakers then). That same year, I hopped on the Phoenix Suns bandwagon after seeing them start the season so well and in an exciting manner. In 2010 or 2011, I boarded the New York Knicks bandwagon.

The leap to the Suns was different from the others. For Detroit and Sacramento, I alighted the bandwagon shortly after riding it. For Phoenix, I stayed on. I am on it as I write this piece. The Knicks are a different case all together.

It always starts at the bandwagon. It’s hard to cheer for a shitty losing team. Why cheer for a loser? That is why the bandwagon exists. So that casual fans will have some team to cheer about, the winners. Cut them some slack and make them experience the moment while it lasts.

When Amare Stoudemire of the Suns left the team and went to New York, I started supporting the Knicks. When Steve Nash left Phoenix, I started supporting the Lakers even if they are one of my hatest teams. I jumped on those two bandwagons because my two most favorite players left Phoenix and moved to those two.

The true test of fanhood begins as soon as the team starts losing. Face it, the Phoenix Suns are a mess. Yet here I am still very supportive of the team.

This is where the bandwagon fans become the faithful, the true fans. This sucking stage, call it an initiation rite to becoming a team’s legitimate fan.

Renewing my license

A week before my birthday, I went to the LTO to have my license renewed since it was bound to expire next week. Surprisingly, it was not such a terrible experience as compared to the hell of getting it the first time.

Part of the process was the drug test. We know drug tests here in the country. It uses ones urine sample to determine whether one drugged himself.

Back in high school, filling up the container was no problem for me. I always filled it to the brim in one go, and finished the drug test in no time. Perhaps it helped that usually, it would be conducted after lunch, when my bladder is near full and has a lot in the tank.

Before I went for my license renewal, I made the mistake of urinating before leaving the house. The girl handling the containers gave me the little bottle and I went to the bathroom. After letting go, all of a sudden the little bottle seemed so large! The tank was empty. Filling the bottle halfway was a big challenge. Unbelievable.

I went outside the drug testing area. “Water for sale. Available at the cashier” a sign said. I went for it instantly, so i could end the process already. I went for the medical check-up first.

I went to the cashier right after the check-up. The cashier was beside the license area, where documents are given, where the photo and e-signature is taken, you know, those stuff. I asked for some water. The lady said, “Darling, doon sa cashier ng drug test yung tubig.” She was smiling. Either she was polite or she was laughing at me. Doesn’t matter, I was laughing at myself, too.

I bought one bottle. Useless. I drank another one. Close, but still no good. I bought another bottle. I felt the urge to urinate. It was enough.

Going back and forth the drug testing area, I noticed one thing. In one room, they were both selling water and collecting urine samples. A thought entered my mind: could it be that they are using the urine, filtering, it, distilling it, and placing them in water bottles to be sold for 20 pesos each? Disturbing.

What could have taken 30-45 minutes took me an hour longer. Or even more. Since I drank 1.5 liters of water in a span of 20-30 minutes, I urinated a looooot after the whole process. I don’t know which was longer: waiting for the urge to piss, or waiting for the pissing to end.

Overall, the LTO Muntinlupa branch was efficient. There were no fixers around, which made renewing my license quick. Maybe their lack of fixers explain why no one has fixed the sound system in the air-conditioned area, which is the area which needs a sound system. Weird.

Internet

I hate that we have become so Internet-dependent. We rely on the Internet as if it’s the only way to live our daily lives. Some say “no Internet is the new brownout”. And rightfully so. It has become a necessity, sometimes more important than food or drink.

When we go to places, we ask, “Is there Wi-Fi?” before anything else.

Before we eat our food, we take out our smartphones, open Instagram, and take a snapshot of what’s on the table.

Upon arrival anywhere, we go to Foursquare and check-in.

We chat so loudly on Facebook, even if we are just in within the same room.

I don’t want to come clean. I do some of these. I depend on the Internet too much. And I feel this when working on projects. When the Internet is badly needed to communicate, yet I live in a country where Internet is wildly inconsistent, I feel like a weight tied to my group’s ankles, slowing their progress down.

Which makes me think: what if the presentation of the project will be done the Monday right after Easter Sunday, it’s Holy Week and some of us are on vacation, and there is no Internet? How then would we carry on?

The development of culture would really lead to Internet dependence. It’s about time the country adapted.