Wapakman! Our reel real-life superhero

Adjectives like “unbelievable” and “astonishing” and “stunning” are no longer befitting the task of describing Manny Pacquiao. And so, I propose that Webster Dictionary add a new adjective to its vocabulary: Wapakman.

Never before have we witnessed such a man. What Pacman has done, no other Pinoy has done. Not in the past. Not in 55 years. He has united us. He has rekindled our pride in the RP flag—which he proudly waved seconds after victory. He has elicited joyful tears in our eyes. He has stopped crime. He has stopped traffic during his fight. And, he stopped the welterweight champion of the world.

Wapakman. Wow, Pakman!


Recalling the clash, weren’t we anxious in Round 1? Didn’t our usually-combative boxer just lean against the ropes, covering his chest with both arms like it were a shield, inviting Miguel Cotto to pound on him? Didn’t Manny look doubtful? Not the usual aggressor? Not, as Freddie Roach predicted, a Round 1 knockout?

True. But that lasted three minutes. Because after feeling the pummels of MC’s left jab, MP’s internal engine revved up to score those knockdowns in rounds 3 and 4. From then on, Manny was on a rampage. Never looking tired the entire bout, Manny pursued Miguel like a dog would a cat. The funniest part came when, exasperated with Miguel’s escaping, Manny stopped and, as if placing his hands on his hips, sighed, “Mo away ka or di?”

Wapakman. The movie itself will be shown nationwide on Dec. 25. “Wapakman” is a reel story—while Pacman’s performance two days ago was a real story. For the real Manny has special powers. He’s a true-to-life superhero. His punches fly like Superman flies, his legs strut like Spiderman’s climbs, his muscles flex to reveal the six-pack of Batman. He’s Superman, Spiderman and Batman bundled into one… Wapakman.

Here’s another inconceivable act: Imagine doing a concert after the fight? What confidence. Imagine if his face looked like Cotto’s at fight’s end? He’d have looked pitiful. But Manny knew. As the Nike shirt says, “Pac Man Knows.” He knew that he’d win. He knew that his face wouldn’t be bloodied. He knew that he’d be world champ and would have enough energy to not only last 12 rounds—but to sing songs with his MP Band at the Mandalay Resort party. As one story put it, “Pacquiao belts Cotto… then belts out songs.”

What’s next for our Filipino Idol? A much-deserved vacation. More singing. A promotional tour for his movie which, I’m sure, will be the highest-grossing film of all time. Then, finally, he’ll announce his candidacy for Congressman of Sarangani.

Wapakman? No. It’s… Wala Pakman. Think about it: Manny ran during the 2007 elections. Had he won, do you think he’d have trained with single-minded focus and won against his next five opponents… Marquez, Diaz, De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto? Because while Manny moved up in weight to take on heavier opponents, against Darlene Antonino-Custodio (who weighs, in my estimate, less than 90 lbs.), the lightest-ever “enemy” he’s faced—he was embarrassed. Wa’ Pakman unta if Manny won.

The question is: When Manny runs for congress this May, will voters elect him? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s a good chance he’ll win this time. MP lost in ‘007 because of two reasons: Darlene Custodio and the public’s clamor for Pacquiao to continue as a boxer and not turn politician. That was then. Now, having beaten all other boxers, he can stop running on the road and run for public office. His new name… Congressman Wapakman.

But, wait. Isn’t there one final hurdle for his quest to be named, Greatest Of All Time? Against the man who’s won 40 times and lost none? I hope this happens. Money Mayweather vs. Money Pacquiao will not only be the richest event in the sport’s history, it will be the Super Bowl of boxing.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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