THE EVENT was The Non-Event. It was the most boring fight we’ve seen of the earth’s most thrilling boxer. But it wasn’t Manny’s fault. He tried. On the 12th round. On Round 8. On the first 180 seconds. He even attempted the highlight of the fight in Round 4 when, exasperated, Manny did the “double punch,” throwing twin shots to Joshua Clottey’s head.
That was fun. The rest was sad. Because sadly, Clottey was a dud. He was a loser. A debacle. He clammed like a shell, covered himself with a black shield, and was a mere target practice. Bobby Nalzaro defined it best: JC was a punching bag.
Sad. Way lami. But here’s the good news: this was a “freebie” for Manny. He didn’t get hurt. He’ll pocket $12 million. He sang “La Bamba” an hour after he left the stadium. He preserved his honor as a mini Mike Tyson and reinforced his stature as boxing’s Roger Federer. Nobody blamed MP for the fiasco. Best of all, he’s won his part of the semi-final round, ready to face Mr. Mayweather in “The Finals” come September.
Still, after we had gotten accustomed to Pacquiao’s past—him bloodying Diaz, shocking De La Hoya, bludgeoning Hatton, and transforming Cotto into a coward when the Puerto Rican ran circles around the square ring—we missed the same Las Vegas fireworks.
As for me, instead of witnessing a boxing thrilla to salivate my boxing appetite, I whetted my appetite for food. Thanks to our hosts last Sunday, Rotary’s past district governor Ray Patuasi and his wife Letty, who served lechon, scallops, humba, fried chicken, kinilaw, carbonara pasta, saang shell—so much food the buffet table could have served the 50,994 in Cowboys Stadium. With us were doctors Ron Eullaran and Ronnie Medalle, Raycia Eullaran, Ciara Patuasi, Joey Ontanillas, Miguel and Kaye Larrauri, and Nikki and Jorge Romea.
Back to Joshua Clottey: at least he achieved a distinction that his predecessors could not: he survived, blood-less, to smile during the post-fight interview. He preserved his “I’ve-never-been-KO’ed” mantra. He’ll go home to the Bronx, where he now resides, or to Ghana, $2 million richer.
As for Manny’s money? His piggy bank has been fattened. He was promised a purse of $12 million, excluding the PPV revenue. This means one thing: MP is super Richie Rich rich. From one who earned P1,000 in his first bout 15 years ago, he pocketed $15 million with De La Hoya, and $13 million each from Hatton and Cotto. Adding the $12 million for sleeping past Clottey 48 hours ago, that’s a monstrous total of $53 million or, in pesos, P2,438,000,000.
I computed the exact number of minutes and seconds MP spent annihilating his past four opponents—ODLH (24 minutes), Hatton (5:59), Cotto (35:05), Clottey (36)—and here’s the answer: In his last four fights, Pacquiao earned P402,044 per second. I’m willing to bet my Labrador named Joshua that no other athlete has earned so much in so few minutes.
Which brings me to the sad part. Because for all of Manny’s money, and all the 12 victories in as many encounters, he will lose. On May 10, 2010, on the second fight of his political career and now sporting a 0-1 scorecard, he will lose. At least that’s the feedback I got from taxi drivers, KCC mall employees and the ordinary folks I interviewed while at General Santos City 10 days ago.
Funny, no? Manny is the No.1 Filipino among the 6.8 billion earthlings of this planet. Yet, despite his popularity and winnings, he’s a loser. In politics, he loses. Worse, in showbiz, even if he trumpeted the “affair” with Krista Ranillo to bolster “Wapakman,” the movie suffered a knockout. Same with “Anak ng Kumander” with Ara Mina in 2008. In both films, money was lost. Manny lost. Funny? Not so. For we want our boxing hero to continue doing what he does best—not in showbiz or in the political ring—but inside the boxing ring.
This shows the intelligence of the Filipino. I hope our hero listens.