The past couple of years saw Pacquiao at his greatest, probably the single greatest stretch in Boxing history which saw him win an unprecedented ten championships in eight different weight classes. After a dominant fifteen fight win-streak which spanned almost seven years, saw the Pacman lose back-to-back fights for the first time in his career.
2012 hasn’t been a great year for the Fighting Congressman. His first fight this year against Timothy Bradley saw him outbox his seemingly defensive opponent but the judges saw otherwise; handing the win and the WBO Welterweight title to the undefeated American. Pacquiao was gracious defeat and did not question the decision of the judges or the integrity of the sport but many people rallied behind his back in protest of the sport.
Instead of a rematch with Bradley to avenge his ‘defeat’, Pacquiao sought out for the world’s #1 Pound-For-Pound in Floyd Mayweather, Jr. A lot of discussions took place but negotiations ultimately fell after both sides could not reach an agreement in terms of the purse. Pacquiao eventually decided to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time in one of boxing’s greatest rivalries.
The lead up to the Marquez fight saw Manny at his finest physically, mentally, and spiritually. Gone were the days where distractions occupied the Pacquiao camp and the champ was now focused solely on the fight and his new found peace. This was a huge opportunity for Pacquiao to prove to the entire world that his game hasn’t slipped and a knockout could silence his critics.
As the fight was under away, both fighters never shied away from the action and saw the counterpuncher (Marquez) press more with his new physique. It was a thrilling back and forth fight which saw Marquez fall in the 5th round and Pacquiao in the 3rd. That was the first time the Pacman was knocked out since 2003 and it considerably came from a fighter who lacked knockout power.
As the sixth round was about to end, Pacquiao tried to end the round with a flurry but after he threw his right, JMM masterfully countered with a huge right of his own and hit Pacquiao squarely on the chin. This pummeled Pacquiao and he lunged forward, knees buckling and peacefully tucking his hands beside him. The Champ was out cold, barely moving—not moving at all.
Everyone was in a state of shock, rather disbelief. This is the Greatest Fighter of all-time going down devastatingly. It didn’t seem right more so it was surreal. This wasn’t, isn’t supposed to happen.
Christmas is usually the time Manny Pacquiao celebrates. He celebrates not only his birthday but also the day the Lord was born. With this loss, people have questioned whether or not his faith has played a big part in his slipping fighting game. The spirit of Christmas isn’t the gifts or our success, it is knowing that our Savior was born and that we are all destined to eternal life.
The best Christmas gift we can all give to Manny is we rally behind his back. After all that he has done to bring honor and recognition to our country, it is now our turn to stand proudly behind our Pambansang Kamao.
Words by Gian Carlo Go, Stallion Sports Editor