Drowning defeat with sushi
The Good Life
with Eli F.J. Tajanlangit
Funny, but Sunday was the first time I have ever watched a Pacquiao fight. I don't know, but I'm just not interested in boxing, no matter how much the sport has brought honors to the country and wealth to the Pacquiao coffers.
It was, of course, by accident that I found myself in Dad's Glorietta Makati amidst the partisan multitudes cheering for Pacquiao. Good Friend A was paying for lunch, and he bought tickets to the fight at the temple of eat-all-you-can. Well, I said, you guys can go for boxing, I'll go for the buffet. Actually, there really was not much of a choice for lunch last Sunday. Two other invitations for lunch carried the added line, "let's watch the Pacquiao fight while enjoying our food..."
Dad's last Sunday was shut up for lunch, curtains covered, its windows and every crevice stuffed so there was little light that could filter through. It felt like the old movie house alright, with the applause and the lusty cheers from the crowd bouncing back and forth the walls, creating a thunderous impact on us. Well, so thick was this regular thunderous applause that outside, while approaching the place, we already heard it – daw may bulang sa Glorietta, (sounds like there is a cockfight going on) – Good Friend Y, who was also with us, said.
The buffet was ready, the tables as usual groaning with the usual choices. Y and A went for the iced tea; I went to the buffet right away, fearful of a hypo attack, ahem. There was only me and one other at the buffet table, a grouchy woman, who was bitching about having to put up with her husband, who brought her to watch the fight. Everybody, it seemed, no longer minded the food, transfixed as they were on the screens that showed the boxing. There was little light, and it was difficult picking out things at the sushi and sashimi bars. But, trust me, I managed to fill my plate.
And so, while the rest in the table around us were counting stats and applauding each punch that landed, I was savoring the sashimi and sushi; and while they were standing up and stomping their feet in that round -- was it the 7th or 8th round? -- where Pacquiao landed a succession of jabs, I was back at the food table, reaching out for chawan mushi and sukiyaki.
I don't know. But I thought, judging from what I saw on screen and around me, our boxer won that match. I am a hopeless dill when it comes to boxing, alright, but I do know when a punch lands or not, who was the better fighter and who was on the defensive most of the time.
Bradley was strong and solid, but Pacquiao was just as strong and solid, and nimble and flexible to boot.
Everybody in that room must have assumed Pacquiao was the winner, because in the second after the last round, there was some rustling, like everybody was rising and stretching, but not much of an excitement.
The excitement came after the announcement, which left everybody stunned, it was left to uninvolved me to ask, "he lost???" After that moment of utter disbelief, a gaggle of voices and protests rose from everywhere, and confusion gurgled all over. It was something nobody had expected. A flurry of text messages followed, many denouncing the judges, a few saying it was a signal for Pacquiao to retire; someone said it was time he refocused.
I put on the appropriate stunned and sad look to blend with the crowd but all I could feel was the fullness of my stomach; my mouth tasted of wasabi and soy. A and Y, in the meantime, went to the buffet table and came back with plates full of sushi and tempura -- their version of tension release and frustration venting, I guess. The crowd shuffled back and forth, and their question, "why?" was something nobody could answer.*
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