By Alex Tianco
Before the legendary athlete rose up to become an eight-division world champion, the voice of Blow by Blow, Chino Trinidad, revealed that there was nothing special about Manny Pacquiao during his early bouts.
Blow by Blow was a weekly sports boxing television program that aired from 1994-2000, and was revived by Pacquiao himself in 2015. The show was most notable for helping Philippine boxing flourish within the country, and featured fights from a scrawny Pacquiao.
“Was he special nung una kong nakita? Hindi. Ordinaryo siya,” said Trinidad in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Hit List, presented by SMART last July 19.
During their first encounter, Trinidad was not yet the broadcaster for the show, but rather the one assigned to fix the list of cards for upcoming fights. And in that moment, he met Pacquiao — a skinny boy hailing from General Santos, who would soon become one of the greatest boxers of all time.
“So sino ba ‘tong Emmanuel Pacquiao na ‘to? Sabi niya ‘Ako po kuya!’
“Isang payatot na bata. ‘Yan magbo-boxing? Eh batang kalye ka lang. ‘Hindi po, boxer po ako. Galing po ako sa West Visayan Clan’,” recalled the veteran scribe.
Pacquiao was starting to gain recognition after a few fights for being an exciting fighter. Even back then, he was already known for his speed and quick punches. But still, Trinidad was skeptical about his capabilities until they went to Palawan for a set of matches.
“He was exciting, talagang ‘Ahh!’ Sige suntok-suntok ‘yan, walang katapusan ‘yan hanggang makasama namin siya sa Palawan. I think unti-unting nag-unravel ‘yan. ‘Yung unang-unang nakalaban niya doon, na-testing ‘yung kalibre niya sa tapang,” retold by Trinidad.
Despite Pacquiao becoming a champion, Trinidad still had reservations about his ability in the ring.
He was shocked when Pacquiao came back stronger in 2006 to beat Erik Morales in their rematch, and was even more surprised to see Oscar De La Hoya suffer a massive loss in 2008. Time after time, Pacquiao would prove Trinidad and all the naysayers wrong.
“Siguro ako, nasanay na lahat ng ginagawa ni Manny Pacquiao, ang approach ko sa kanya ay with skepticism palagi. Ang maganda sa kanya, every time na pagdududahan ko siya, nalalagpasan niya ‘yung pagdududa. He outdoes himself, he outperforms himself,” Trinidad explained.
And knockout after knockout, win after win, he showed the world that he was no longer the scrawny kid from General Santos who was featured in Blow by Blow, but a legendary world champion who trained day and night to be remembered as an all-time great.
Up to this day, the world’s only eight-division boxing world champion continues to amaze everyone — including Trinidad.
“Alam mo ‘yung talagang literal na lumalaki si Pacquiao, not just physically but figuratively? [Lumaki] si Manny Pacquiao right before our eyes, and hindi namin na-realize ‘yun until dumating na ‘yung laban niya kay Lehlo Ledwaba, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, tapos ‘yung kay Erik Morales… Hindi mo pa rin ma-rerealize na you were in the midst of greatness.
Ako na nagsasabi sa inyo niyan, hanggang doon sa point na ‘yun hindi pa ako naniniwala kay Manny Pacquiao.”
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