Manny Pacquiao: A Cut Above the Rest

So much has been written about Manny Pacquiao after he won his 8th world title last Nov. 13, 2010 against Antonio Margarito. I won’t dwell anymore on just how great he is (because he is!), on his being a Congressman, or on his wealth. There are enough newspapers (print and online), magazines, and TV video clips on him that I would not even know where to start.

But let me dwell on one thing about Manny that made a deep impression on me.

In a previous post, I wrote about admiring Manny for always praying before and after a fight. His humility in giving glory to God already differentiated him from many boxers who were fighting for themselves and their own glory.

(Photo source: AP)

But in this fight with Margarito, another facet of Manny surfaced. Watch this video.

“Boxing is not about killing each other…”

That phrase alone spells what makes Manny different from the other boxers with the killer instinct.

HE SHOWED COMPASSION IN THE FACE OF IMMINENT VICTORY. A lot of heart.

Many, including me, are wondering why the referee did not stop the fight earlier or why Margarito’s trainer did not throw the towel. I think that Margarito was trying to regain the respect of the boxing community by fighting to the end. This was his way of reversing the damage done by his suspension – a result of being discovered with something hard wrapped into his fist just before an earlier fight. And Manny must have sensed this as well.

Most ferocious animals, when they smell blood, move in for the kill. Many of Manny’s fans wanted a knockout. Seeing Margarito’s state, I think many knew that if Manny moved in for the kill, he could have been knocked out.

But this is where Manny is a different kind of boxer – full of class, compassionate and merciful. In one of the last rounds, I heard the commentators on TV say that Manny looked slower so he must be tired. Was he really tired? Was he really slower? Or was his slowdown deliberate, allowing time to run out at every round, boxing only to keep Margarito at bay? It seems like it if you listen to his words during his post-fight interviews. Of course, he did not categorically say so — leaving Margarito with some elbow room for self-respect. But you can deduce it.

Despite being disadvantaged in terms of height, weight and reach, Manny clearly overcame all these to win. Right now, he is a clear idol not just of Filipinos but of people throughout the world. He is an example of someone who was born with no social or economic advantage but reversed that with hard work. He is a model of someone who has attained titles no one else can lay claim to and yet remains as humble as ever. Power clearly has not gone to his head despite being a champion boxer and Congressman, to boot. That’s a guy who’s a cut above the rest.

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