The fallen heroBy Raymund Fernandez
Cebu Daily News
Ang Tigbuhat saw the Pacquiao vs. Bradley bout quite by chance. He had forgotten all about it until his housemates requested him to check a local channel to see if it was coming out. And sure enough it was there. They had watched the final Boston Celtics and Miami Heat game and so it proved a serendipitous and fun transition for a lazy Sunday at home. Notwithstanding the final outcomes.
Contact sports are ever the outlet for latent human aggression. You can criticize it as much as you like but in the end there it is, people buy into it proving, if nothing else, their need for the game. And what they need the game for would have to do with the reading they will finally apply.
A real sports geek might read the implications of the event and surmise the dynamics of how and why a game is either lost or won and what happens from then on. He or she might focus on the predictability of outcomes the same way a betting person would. The question of how much was won or lost becomes essential.
Ang Tigbuhat is bound to look at the games the way a fiction writer would. He might start by presuming that we need sports because they are essentially stories of a most classical structure. At the center of it, there is a problem that needs to be resolved: Who wins or loses? There are implications from the outcome: How much by way of bets is won or lost? The story is always steep with all possibilities of emotion: excitement, amazement, hero worship, the triumphal joy of victory, the tragedy of loss, the comic tragedy of the human experience played out into the semi-fiction playing live onscreen or onstage. Watching Paquiao is like reading Hemingway give or take a few elements unique to each medium. And like the classical tale there are morals that we can point to.
Used to be, we thought these morals were universal. But these are post-modern times. We are more inclined now to say the moral each person applies speaks not of universal truth but merely of each person’s perspective. We read according to who we are and from where we are standing or sitting as the case may be.
Some say Pacquiao was cheated out of his victory. And if one had bet quite a hefty sum, a few millions perhaps, one might even pass out from the anger and the loss after hearing the judges’ split decision. What can you expect? All three judges came from Nevada, an absolutely artificial city established originally by the Mafia. The moral of the story? There is no such thing as a sure bet.
Another reading notes how all the judges were American. We cannot tell the veracity of this claim. They do not put a person’s nationality or ethnicity next to the judge’s name. But we know they all came from Nevada. And yes, why shouldn’t nationality be an issue to qualify a judge? Pacquiao is after all a national hero. But only for Filipinos. The Americans themselves probably do not care. Or do they? How can we tell for sure? Do Americans always bet American? Moral of the story: Find a better way to judge sports. Why not use text votes the way they do American Idol? Absurd, you say?
Well, there’s at least one more reason Pacquiao should not have left the final outcome to the judges. Almost everyone who saw the fight thinks Pacquiao could have finished off Bradley on or after the 6th round. So why didn’t he? Some say Pacquiao is getting old. He didn’t have the stamina to finish him off. He was too fat weighing in at 147 pounds. He got slower after the sixth round and almost knocking down the younger fighter. And so forth. The Americans are bound to say so. But as to the truth? Perhaps we will never know why.
It will forever be a mystery. Good reason then to give the mystery a divine and mystical twist. Could it be the hand of God putting a finger into the whole event? Imagine Pacquiao after the 6th round thinking he had already won the game? Why shouldn’t he give the younger Bradley a bit of Christian pity so he would not look too bad or possibly be injured in the course of the game? Who says there is no room in the ring for Christian kindness?
It is only to be expected then that such example of Christian goodwill would in the end be rewarded. So he lost the game. But that only makes his narrative, his story, more exciting from hereon where it had been waning after so many lackluster fights. More will be watching from hereon. And if many lost in the betting, some even passing out after the loss was announced, what can we say? Who asked anyone to bet? Is it such a big tragedy that he lost? Watch Pacquiao rue his loss all the way to the bank. And then once again in November.
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