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September 21, 2010Posted by on
Like most Filipino males, I’ve been exposed to boxing all my life. As a kid, I remember watching live telecasts of the fights of “Iron” Mike Tyson, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield and Luisito Espinosa. I can never, ever forget how Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco was robbed of an Olympic Gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I was barely 11 years old when I watched the horrifying points tally against our hero. Likewise, albeit on a different scale, the sight of Tyson biting off Holyfield’s ear remains permanently etched in my mind!
Photos from Wikipedia and Pep.ph
In fact, one of my favorite shows of all-time is the Japanese anime, Hajime no Ipppo, based on the exploits of a dedicated young boxer, Ippo Makunouchi.
Among all the athletes in the world, I respect boxers the most. These modern day gladiators make a living by doing their utmost to knockout the other guy. Permanent brain damage or even death is the stark reality of professional boxing. Most prizefighters in the Philippines come from poor backgrounds, with only their fists as their means of living. The boxing ring becomes a stepping stone to glory, for a chosen few.
I cringed each time our amateur boxers came home empty-handed from the big competitions abroad and rejoiced with each elusive victory. Nevertheless, I still believe that the country’s first Olympic gold shall come from the sport, when the women are allowed to box at the Olympics! The rise of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao solidified boxing as Juan dela Cruz’ favorite spectator sport – a potent unifying force that stops crime, silences the bullets of insurgents, unifying a diverse nation with each punch of the People’s Champion.
Many a time have I turned to the Philippines’ favorite son for much-needed inspiration. The following music video of Pacquiao and Rivermaya’s “Alab ng Puso” is a personal favorite:
I cringed each time our amateur boxers came home empty-handed from the big competitions abroad and rejoiced with each elusive victory. Let’s just hope that a future Manny Pacquiao or Gerry Penalosa could distinguish himself at the amateur ranks first, before turning pro. Nevertheless, I still believe that the country’s first Olympic gold shall come from the sport, when they finally allow women to box at the Olympics!