For Pacquiao, boxing is a triumph of the spirit

The writer with Manny Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS — Everything about this city is preposterous — the smell and the hustle inside MGM Grand, included. From the weigh-in, it gives you a heady feeling of being on stage, or in the middle of a prison riot with dancers, singers, casino people, general show business and the phantasmagoria.  

That said, perhaps it’s the most fun, albeit, sinful place on Earth since God Almighty torched Sodom and Gomorrah. 

In skyline hyper-reality, a mélange of the Statue of Liberty, a giant lion sprawled like an aging nymphomaniac, a pyramid, and a sphynx are all there.  In fiery weather of dreams, there’s the glittering New York, the grandeur of Rome, and the lure of Paris.  While other cities build hotels as their major attractions, here, their hotels are their main events.

The overall cultural aridity is melting in flamboyance, extravaganza and vigor, the irreverence condoned all over the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  It is the sight of every show, vibrantly decadent that inflamed the tourists beyond art, dance and spectacle.  The costumes alone in one colossal production cost more than what is indecent.

In the square jungle of pugilistic arena, good stories are always good stories, regardless of who tells them. Whatever else your story conveys, you will know what is to have been there.

Palms wet, throats dry, we cobble groups of juicy pieces of fistic delights, their foibles and fallibility. 

We dive in immediately firsthand on-the-spot pieces of eyewitness accounts: quick, subjective and sometimes slightly incomplete; since they are written in the heat of the moment.  It reflects the rush and compression of swirling chaos inside the arena, sometimes with the ignorance of what is going to happen next. It was always a roaring and dramatic session when the undisputed darling of the boxing world stars come.

Boxing is a brutal, abominable game – the human beast hitting itself. Yet, as much as you reject and condemn it, boxing always excites in the end. When you’re there at the ringside, you get more and more excited, until you find yourself caught up in it, taking part, urging them on. 

There’s a tremendous fascination for boxing.  It lasts only some few minutes and afterward, you’re ashamed that you let go. What makes the fighting world so intriguing is the multi-level on which it is played and the relative fluidity of commerce dictated the very best, soaring you to breathtaking heights.  The words rippled beyond it, when you put in a man’s care and concern for a sport, and the pride he has developed in doing it well. 

Because when you watch the champ fight well, boxing is not violence.  In his title defenses, I see him make a conversation — an exchange between two men, who talk to each other with their hands instead of their voices — hitting at the ear, nose, mouth, the belly, instead of hitting at each other’s minds.

Boxing is a noble art. When Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao fights in the ring, I do not see him expressing brutality, instead, he expresses a complex, subtle nature like that of a true intellectual, a real honorable and forthright human being.  He is a pugilist who is less brutal or not brutal at all, after a fight.  Because with his fists he transforms violence into something beautiful and noble with discipline.  It is a real triumph of the spirit. He thinks of himself as being a good man in the Christian sense, with a clear consciousness of what is good and what is evil. With his concept of the good, he resembles that of the Christians.

Sometimes he can be keen and hard like the tip of a wedge, and can be soft and caring like a warm glove. We have watched through the years, fight a myriad of notables in the fistic arena. Hard pummeling, fast hands that can cut you up with a head butt, each with different skills and technique.  

But Pacman always finds a strategy of his own craft to beat them to a pulp.  Brain against brain, art against art, the appeal and fascination of those bouts gets beyond his expertise.  Flicking out the jabs as he dishes out stinging body shots, his hands smoother than his adversary, pummeling and landing wherever he wants them to be — against the ropes or flat on the floor, heads that are turned to the side, his monsters left, dynamite right, putting together combinations flicking out circling, throwing a greater variety of punches.

A boxer’s skill erodes a lot quicker in the crazy roulette like no other sport can offer. Here today, gone tomorrow, millions richer. The peacock today is a feather duster tomorrow.


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