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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 21, 2019
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

So what if hes 40?

Ninfa Leonardia

What else could be more fun writing about today than the exciting fight between our favorite champion and a braggart of an opponent with a mouthful of expletives and a misguided sense of self-confidence, that seemed to desert him after one round? It was clear that Adrien Broner had convinced himself that the 40-year-old champ would be no match for him. After the first few minutes into the first round, it looked as if the 29-year-old had realized what he had let himself in for.

***

But excited and eager fans of boxing, and especially of Manny Pacquiao, had to wait impatiently for the main event, because there were four fights on the undercard before the climactic main event. But the lesser fights were also interesting, because the young fighters were quite good and, who knows, one of them may be a future Pacquiao type of boxer too. Of course Manny Pacquiao’s feat is a a hard act to follow, being the one and only boxer who had clinches eight world titles and held them at the same time. But I guess we can’t blame Adrien Broner for trying, he was even quoted as saying that if he wins, he would become a “legend” overnight.

***

Alas for him, it did not happen, and it was our Manny who left the ring smiling and surrounded by admirers who couldn’t get near enough to him. I noted that a lot of them were also present in his previous fights in Las Vegas, especially the ones I had the privilege to personally watch. But this was the first I had observed where the loser, not even waiting for the decision of the judges, already leapt and declared that he had won. Poor guy. The beating he got must have affected in his brain. In fact, I even thought Pacquiao was going easy on him, compared to other opponents he had tangled with.

***

In their holding room, before the fight was announced, I saw a lot of the people who had also been there in previous Las Vegas fights, most prominent of which was then Governor Chavit Singson. This time there were new ones, like former PNP head Bato de la Rosa. Of course Bacolod Mayor Bing was again the Pacquiao flagbearer, and this time I was happy to hear the Philippine National Anthem sung properly. Until now, there are still groups and even institutions who do not sing it in the correct tempo.

***

By the way, there is an interesting story about that Flag that has been used in every Pacquiao fight with Mayor Bing as its carrier. One time, after the fight, Bing was carrying it on his way out of the arena, and put it down on a table while he fixed some of his things. Immediately, a man snatched it and ran off with it, and the surprised mayor chased him for quite a distance and grabbed it back! He said the man, fortunately, did not resist, and just ran away. Now anybody who comes to the Mayor’s Office at the New Government Center can see it displayed there. But be brings it along everytime Manny Pacquiao calls and request him to join his team whenever he has a fight. It is not surprising, because Mayor Bing is also godfather to Pacquiao’s two daughters, Princess and Queenie.

***

I felt sentimental whenever I heard the crowd at the MGM Grand chant “Manny, Manny, Manny” yesterday as we watched the fight on pay-per-view. Remember that in some of those fights that I had attended in Las Vegas, and even in Macao, hearing that seems to make the fighter more aggressive and inspired. I did ask him once, after a fight where he did not seem his usual confident self, how he felt when he hears that chant. He said, it really gets to him and seems to give him more determination and strength. But in yesterday’s fight, he didn’t appear to have any bad moments, it was his all the way. But his fans continued to chant his name to inspire him.

***

Floyd Mayweather did not miss yesterday’s bout. In fact, he was among the first celebrities to be acknowledged. There were other champions also mentioned, but they were not focused on, Maybe it was because it had been quite a time since there was that big a fight in “Vegas”, and the fans had been missing such action. I am sure, though, that the Pinoys were the ones who always led the chanting of his name whenever they sensed a tight moment. By the way, can anybody guess how much Motolite shelled out to have Manny carry its name on his headband?

***

But Adrien Broner made a fool of himself by jumping on a riser and shouting “I won! I won!” even before the judges’ decision was announced. Did he think that would influence them? It turned out to be a unanimous decision, and he couldn’t even claim having a round won! Poor guy.*

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