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Fight of the Century: Accepting Defeat

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This is not even about Manny Pacquiao losing to Floyd Mayweather alone. This is about the Filipino losing against… well, the other side of the unnecessary, and oftentimes below the belt, reactions that come after.

It may have something to do with the collective passion to support the three stars and the sun.

After all, who doesn’t love unity?

It’s always Pilipinas against the world.

Us against them.

This side against we-don’t-care-who.

But racial slurs, derogatory comments, (Gayweather, ‘luto’ because it was held in America, and the like) and extra-curriculars?

These are post-fight stuff that should never be tolerated in this modern era.

To understand the “sweet science” of boxing, means to spend years studying the sport and appreciating what the best fighters have brought to the square ring of champions.

Understandably, the average fans wanted to see more “action” as their typical notion of boxing is plain fighting, engaging, and trying make a bloody mess out of one’s opponent’s face.

This, however, isn’t your ancient, kill or be killed type of brawling. There is a lot science involved. You have to use techniques and train for months to perfect your craft.

Floyd Mayweather (48 wins, 0 losses) is one of the best boxers and for 48 times, he won by dominating his foe in an array of ways.

It goes way beyond plain punching and hurting. It goes beyond trying to knock your opponents out using brute force. Make no mistake, Mayweather has been rocked several times in past matches against Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and Marcos Maidana, but there is a reason why he is still undefeated until now.

To underscore the beauty of Mayweather’s victories, one must have to appreciate the sport itself. What he does inside the ring is technical brilliance — a wizardry we do not see that often, and something we do not easily appreciate for its “uneventfulness.”

But boxing isn’t all about brawling. It involves defense, aggressiveness, and ring generalship.

For about two decades, Mayweather validated the essence of boxing: hit without being hit. For 48 times, he did it in style.

What he did against Pacquiao wasn’t new; it was what he wanted from the moment the opening bell sounded. It’s what makes him one of the generational greats.

Sure, it was boring, but for those who truly understand the beauty of boxing, it was a bliss, a once in a generation match-up that made Pacquiao, the only eight-division world boxing champion (and playing head coach, congressman, actor, singer, you name it) look ordinary.

Tiebreaker Times Fight of the Century: Accepting Defeat
One of the most relentless fighters who transcended the sport, Pacquiao had a difficult time landing against one of the best defensive fighters in the planet. Only 19 percent of his total punches landed per CompuBox. Mayweather landed 35 percent. In power punches, Mayweather had a staggering advantage — 47 percent to 26 percent. Pacquiao threw almost 60 more power punches than Mayweather, but was still left biting the dust.

There were moments of hope when Pacquiao connected on strong left hands, and forced Mayweather against the corner or against the ropes, but it was too easy for the world’s highest paid athlete to get out of trouble.

In the end, the game plan did not work, and Pacquiao, as much as people love him being aggressive and trying to get into his opponent’s defense, did not succeed in the mission.

Not a long time ago, Filipino fans also criticized Juan Manuel Marquez for allegedly stepping on Pacquiao’s foot excessively. But it also happens the other way around, because of the respective fighters’ stance — a thing easy to understand yet people didn’t even seem to bother making an effort to know about it.

Tiebreaker Times Fight of the Century: Accepting Defeat
Years back, Nonito Donaire lost a decision to Gulliermo Rigondeaux, yet no one seemed to care. Why was there no uprising? Does that mean it wasn’t “luto?”

So why the hasty, narrow-minded judgments? Why the below the belt comments?

Is this how Filipino fans want to be recognized? Are these the stuff that “represent” the Filipino supporter?

It was so easy for some to turn into boxing experts without even making an effort to understand the sport itself and the entirety of the boxing industry.

To say “this isn’t boxing” or “RIP boxing” primarily because of Mayweather’s mastery and the disbelief that Pacquiao lost is an insult that goes beyond the surface.

To say such is disrespectful to the amount of Mayweather has exerted through the years while carrying the “hardwork, dedication” mantra.

To say such is an insult to CompuBox, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, to veteran boxing journalists like Kevin Iole and Dan Rafael, to “technical” fighters like Rigondeaux and Andre Ward, and the entire scope of the sport.

What happened on Sunday was boxing, and it was boxing at its finest.

Now, is this how they want to represent the country? Do they want be known elsewhere for these habits?

The bad habits were on full display for the entire day, and it isn’t the only instance people have seen the culture.

I remember Gilas Pilipinas losing to Iran with the team’s fans having to make “okay lang, at least hindi mabaho” comments first before accepting defeat.

When our Ms. Universe candidates don’t make it to the top or fall short and settle for a runner-up award, supporters say “dinaya” or “luto.”

“Eh mas maganda sagot natin!”

“Kaya naman maganda ‘yung dating eh dahil sa interpreter!”

“Chaka naman siya.”

In general, when the Philippine side loses, there should be a denial stage first, followed by a bargaining stage, before the acceptance of reality when all else fails.

The collective disbelief upon CompuBox’s release of the fight stats was a microcosm for that culture.

People cannot seem to accept the truth without going the depths of the world for extra-curriculars first, when in fact it was obvious Mayweather won.

Understandably, most have been driven away by emotion, but ignorance is never an excuse, so to speak.

Have they bothered asking themselves…

“What do I know about boxing?”

“Why did Pacquiao lose?”

“Why did Mayweather win?”

“What did Mayweather do to win?”

“What didn’t work for Pacquiao?”

It is truly disheartening to rally behind our kababayan only to see him/her lose, but Filipino fans, we are all better than what we showed on Sunday.
Tiebreaker Times Fight of the Century: Accepting Defeat

Photo Credit: Chris Farina / Top Rank

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