Disbelief was going through Filipinos minds watching Senator Manny Pacquiao get overwhelmed by the aggressive, bigger Jeff Horn. From the opening bell Horn went right at him, forcing him to the ropes. It didn’t matter if the shots were inaccurate they came flying at him. The volume of body shots was also surprising. The body punches may have taken the sting off Manny’s attack especially in the later rounds.
We were so used to seeing him dominate his opponents we were all shocked to see him like this. In the first three rounds, I think he may have been trying to time a haymaker as Horn was coming in. So he wouldn’t lead, meaning try to punch ahead of Horn. It may have been his strategy to wait in the pocket for that perfect opening to land that killer left hook or right straight that had felled countless opponents in the past.
Just like that legendary knockout of Ricky Hatton who came surging at him. Manny caught him with that picture perfect left hook that sent him reeling to the canvas. The technique is deceptive it takes incredible, speed, timing and power for all of it to come together. The problem now Horn was getting ‘in’ and throwing punches before he could hit him with that perfect counter. Instead Manny was the one getting hit.
This made him look like he was pulling his punches. Was it mental or physical? We really don’t know. He looked tentative waiting for the counter. And after the first 3 rounds when this strategy wasn’t working, why wasn’t he able to adjust or change his game plan?
Enrique Gil for CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol
The moments when Pacquiao was forced to the ropes by Horn was also telling. Horn was just busier on the inside landing to the body, short punches to the face. In the past, he could just slip away using his footwork and head movement or even better punch his way out of the clinch. In close quarters Horn seemed to trap his arm and sneak in some damage. This is where the size and strength of the taller Aussie came to play. Before, against Antonio Margarito and legendary Oscar Dela Hoya or the more recent Rios and Alghieri, there were never any problems in the clinch. All of them are at least several inches taller. So prior to the fight, height and reach wasn’t deemed a factor.
While Manny did not suffer a knock down you could see his head getting thrown back from the punches. They were doing damage. For Pinoys who care for the People’s Champ it was painful to watch.
Tanduay Derek: Tanduay Rhum is the drink of choice for Derek Ramsay – from The One TVC
9th Round Comeback
Manny’s shining moment came in the 9th round, when he finally landed a combo and then another staggering Horn. The roles were suddenly reversed. Pacquiao had him on the run, trying to finish him off. Horn looked glassy eyed ready to tumble and buckle under the power. But he was able to survive and go back to his corner.
The damage was such that Referee Mark Nelson, said to him in the corner ““YOU’VE had enough. Show me something in this round or I’m stopping the fight.” If there was a moment Manny could comeback to win the fight it should have been the 10th round where fans thought he had the time to finish him off…but he didn’t. Horn recovered stood his ground and even resumed his attack through to the 11th and 12th rounds. At that point Horn had won more rounds and was ahead in the scorecards getting the win.
Unilever Phil tapped Steph Curry to endorse Rexona in basketball crazy Philippines
Questions come back to haunt MP, why didn’t he pursue those combos or was more aggressive earlier? If Horn was hurt in the 9th why couldn’t he put him away in the 10th or later rounds?
The simple and obvious answer is that age has finally caught up with our beloved hero. Filipinos have been in denial, including myself, believing him to be invincible and even immortal in the ring. For so long, the whole national psyche clung to his rising fortunes and triumphs. He’d lift up the spirits of his country 100 million people strong. It didn’t matter if it was Yolanda, typhoons, natural disasters, economic and political crises.
Nation’s Hopes and Dreams
The young Senator would literally BE THERE distributing relief coming from his own purse, whether it was an earthquake in Bohol or just giving away turkeys to Pinoys or the less fortunate in the U.S for Thanksgiving.
We didn’t even realize how much we’ve been relying on him as a people for so long. At 38 he could have called it quits years ago. But being the warrior that he is even he didn’t want to let it go. If there was anyone who’s worthy of a messianic complex it should be him.
He has shouldered the burden of a whole nation’s hopes and dreams for too long. I think, that’s why even if he is in literal pain he fights through it. He feels he has to fight for us even when he should obviously stop.
Long Term Damage
In boxing there’s only one certainty: you get hurt whether or not you win or lose.
Concussion damage to the head isn’t a mystery; it’s a medical fact. Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith in CONCUSSION) was saying something people didn’t want to hear. American football is a dangerous sport that has long-term effects on the human brain. His study points out the simple and obvious fact that our brains are encased in liquid. As the head experiences trauma the brain is jolted out of position and hits the skull causing massive damage. One can only imagine how much damage the human brain can take in the sport of boxing, where the head is punched over and over and over again…in one fight.
Retired football players years after their playing days exhibited symptoms of insanity, random violent behavior, voices in their head, endangering themselves and their family. One only has to look at what happened to our own former boxing champ in Rolando Navarete who is now in a pitiful state. Manny you’re the one giving dole outs to Navarete when he drops by your house in Gen San giving him food and money. You’ve seen the long-term damage that boxers can suffer from head trauma.
Because what makes our people great is what is in our hearts
The brutality that makes boxing beautiful also makes it dangerous. Buboy Fernandez, Freddie Roach, they’re all aware that you’re putting your life on the line each time you climb the ring. Roach said he’d be the one to ask you to retire if you lost against Horn. You could have quit when you were knocked out by Marquez and we supported you. You could have quit when you lost against Timothy Bradley and Mayweather and yet we still supported you.
Manny, you’ve transcended your sport you’re now a senator. Your MP Promotions has discovered Jerwin Ancajas who successfully defended his IBF Jr Bantamweight Belt in the undercard. This is the time for you to find new champions and impart your knowledge.
Let Go And Let God
You’ve taken a lot of punishment, thousands of punches throughout the years for us Filipinos. You can let go and let God steer your life in a new direction. That’s why now we have to say thank you, we love you, but we need you to fight for us in a different arena. We know you want to be president and may want to earn your war chest through the sweat of your brow, unlike your politician friends.
But whether you’re a Senator, a President or citizen Pacquiao we know you’ll fight for us. And you need a clear and healthy mind to do so. You had a great run Manny some say the greatest ever now its time to move on.
You’ve shown that win or lose you congratulate your opponent with a hug. You always manage a smile for our people through the most difficult times. This is the heart or puso of the Filipino. A sentiment embodied in a song by Lea Salonga, Bamboo and Sarah Geronimo:
Babangon sa bawat pagkakataon
Ngingiti anu man ang panahon
Lilipad para abutin ang lahat
Pusong walang pagod tumanggap
Nagniningning sa gilas