It was, according to Juan Manuel Marquez, the “perfect punch”–at past the two minute mark in the sixth round, the Mexican “Dinamita (Dynamite)” exploded with a hard right that landed squarely on People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao’s jaw and sent him down the canvas face first.
Sportswriters would have a field day describing the scene of Pacquiao’s defeat, but a casual viewer would have sworn that the Saranggani congressman was a mugging victim by the way he laid face down inside the ring, like he was bludgeoned in the stomach.
It was a scene that millions of Filipino boxing fans dreaded to see, the one scene they know would happen someday in the back of their minds but never expected to happen so soon, even after a decade of dominance in the squared canvas ring.
Again, the hows and whys of Pacquiao’s stunning loss will be dissected by armchair and professional analysts in the days to come. Already fans and even his own mother have blamed Pacquiao’s defeat on his decision to switch from Catholicism to charismatic Christian groups.
Perhaps the best answer came from the man himself. As quoted by his wife Jinkee, whose despair was shown worldwide after seeing her husband fall, Pacquiao admitted to being a little over-confident prior to the match.
It was, ironically, the same state of mind that Pacquiao’s earlier conquest, Marco Antonio Barrera found himself in back in 2003 when he met the People’s Champ for the first time.
National pride notwithstanding, some Netizens even found the loss refreshing as they felt that it not only put Pacquiao back on solid ground but also served to distract from other pressing national issues like the ongoing rescue and relief operations of typhoon Pablo victims in Mindanao and other parts of the country.
Yet for others who don’t feel the same way, Pacquiao’s loss is no less disheartening. It’s not yet the end of the world unless one believes in the Mayan prediction that existence on Earth as we know it will end on Dec. 12, 2012.
We could only hope that as he consoles himself with his US $8 million prize and the millions more in pay-per-view revenue that Pacquiao shares some of his blessings with his fellow Filipinos who have experienced worse and are in fact clinging by the skin of their teeth after typhoon Pablo swept clean their homes and a good part of their lives.
Like the millions of Filipinos who are swamped by floods every year, Pacquiao finds consolation also in a country that would remain grateful to him for elevating their presence in the worldwide stage.
And like the rest of the Filipinos, Pacquiao will pick himself up and move on. The world doesn’t stop for both winners and losers.