“Listening to your instincts, while being the easiest, can also be the hardest thing to do.”
By Alex P. Vidal
THE biggest stumbling block in Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s presidential ambition is not Davao City mayor Sara Duterte for they both belong in Mindanao.
It’s the “rock star”, Manila City mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagos.
And the biggest obstacle in Pacquiao’s political career is Keith Thurman Jr. (29-0, 22 KOs).
If the menacing five feet and seven inches-tall American reigning WBA super welterweight champion scores a fatal win against the 40-year-old lawmaker from Gen. Santos City at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20, the hard-hitting Filipino superstar might have to again neglect his senate obligations to focus in a rematch even if the “wind of change” has long ago swept away his invincibility.
Win or lose, Pacquiao (61-7, 39 KOs) will never retire.
The prospect of losing doesn’t scare him as long as he is able to thrill and entertain his fans.
Pacquiao doesn’t believe in defeat and retirement.
He is a ring warrior who forgets his age–and how far can an average athlete’s main faculties sustain a rigid physical activity beyond the limit.
The Filipino ring heartthrob will continue to fight as he probably needs to raise more money for his presidential dream–at the expense of his “tired and weary” bones.
His presence in the ring on July 20 to attempt to snatch 30-year-old Thurman’s belt actually defies the logic.
His handlers, if he still listens to them, share the guilt.
As an 8-time world boxing champion, Pacquiao has nothing to prove anymore.
He doesn’t need a fame; he had abundance of it since he began fighting for money as a scrawny miniflyweight curtain raiser with a decision win against Edmund Enting Ignacio on January 22, 1995.
He should have retired a long time ago; in fact, immediately after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. In 2015 in a boring fight hyped as the richest in history of prizefighting in terms of purse and shares in pay-per-view awarded to both boxers.
The combined paychecks he got in his next five fights (winning four and losing one) after the Mayweather Jr. debacle were enough to last a lifetime on top of the reported $100 million he bankrolled from a shoulder injury-laden rumble with Mayweather Jr.
Is the bulk of that gargantuan amount still intact?
Why continue to risk incurring a life-threatening injury by fighting the undefeated Thurman in the heavier weight (147 pounds and up to 154 pounds or 66.7–69.9 kg) when Pacquiao can very well live a comfortable and privileged life as a senator with his mind-blowing ring earnings that have breached the billion mark in Philippine currency?
Every fight for an aging boxer is always literally a fight of his life.
History is replete with horrifying tales of famous Marquee names who ended up in the wheelchair for good after they refused to quit and defied father time.
A pugilist engaged in a sustained brutal physical assault for many years (Pacquiao started receiving punishment on the head in the ring at 17 as a licensee in the Games and Amusement Board) can risk a brain injury especially if the boxer is already in a precarious level of “my spirit is still willing but my body cannot” but still decides to go up the ring.
What the body can’t absorb the spirit must obey for it’s the body that gets the pounding and blasting, not the spirit.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)