In recent years, one of the most interesting phenomena ever to emerge from Philippine media is the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon. There has never been anything quite like it before. READ FULL STORY
By Michael Rosenthal
Arlington, Texas – We’re running out of words.
Manny Pacquiao fought a three-time world titleholder who outweighed him by 17 pounds when they entered the ring. He supposedly had a number of distractions while training in the Philippines. He was sluggish in sparring. Even some of those close to him were concerned going into this fight.
The result? A beating the likes we’ve rarely seen at this level of boxing, one that gave Pacquiao a major title in a mind-boggling eighth weight class – almost half of the 17 – and added to a legend that just continues to grow.
The scores indicate how one-sided it was before 41,734 on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium: 120-108 (a shutout), 118-110 and 119-109. The RingTV.com had it 120-107. The CompuBox punch stats were staggering: Pacquiao landed 474 punches (out of 1,069 thrown), No. 8 all-time for a title fight. And get this: He landed 411 of 713 power shots, 58 percent.
You had to see it to fully understand it, though.
Pacquiao landed two-, three-, four-punch combinations seemingly at will and avoided taking blows unless he purposely stepped into the path of danger, a pattern that left Margarito’s face a grotesque mess. His skin was bright red, his eyes were swollen shut and blood dripped from a deep cut under his right eye.
Exhilarating and gruesome
It was exhilarating and gruesome at the same time.
It was exhilarating because of the explosiveness and efficiency of Pacquiao’s work. I was in absolute awe at what I saw, a once-in-a-lifetime athlete whose ability is a true gift to boxing fans.
It was gruesome because a brave man was being beaten to a pulp by the fast hands of a killer. Even those disgusted with Margarito’s role in the hand-wrap scandal had to feel sorry for him during the last few rounds of the fight, which should’ve been stopped to prevent further suffering.
To be clear, this wasn’t a great fight. It was a slaughter, which was predictable given the wide disparity in their talent. Margarito’s size advantage was meaningful only because it likely played a role in his survival.
Pacquiao could’ve won every second of every round by pecking away at Margarito from the outside and avoiding his rushes by using his quick feet, as he did numerous times when the Mexican tried to trap him in a corner or against ropes.
Make people happy
That’s not Pacquiao, though. He purposely entered dangerous situations – fighting Margarito inside, laying on the ropes — because, as he said, “I wanted to make people happy.” As a result, he added some drama to the fight by taking a few unnecessary punches.
“It was a hard fight,” said Pacquiao, being charitable. “I did my best to win. I can’t believe I beat a guy that big and that strong.”
That said, Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) was never, ever in trouble. He said afterward that he knew in the second round that this was his fight but I suspect that realization probably came before they signed the contracts several months ago.
The Filipino marvel knew exactly what he was getting into. Still, he had to get the job done against a relative giant. Margarito weighed 165 pounds , Pacquiao 148, which in effect meant they were three weight classes apart.
And Pacquiao made it an absolute rout.
“I don’t think we lost a round,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. “I wish we would’ve knocked him out. He’s a very tough guy. I’m surprised how tough. He has the worst corner. His corner ruined his career by not stopping the fight.”
Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) did show uncommon courage, which isn’t surprising given his track record of such efforts.
The proud Mexican would never have quit. And referee Laurence Cole probably would never have stopped it because Margarito continued to defend himself (or at least try) and throw punches.
It was up to Robert Garcia, Margarito’s trainer. He reportedly asked his fighter whether he wanted to continue late in the fight – and was told emphatically, “yes” – but Garcia probably should’ve stepped in nevertheless.
In the end, it was Pacquiao who saved his opponent from undue punishment. He went into cruise control the last few rounds because he didn’t want to inflict unnecessary punishment, which might’ve cost him a knockout.
“I told the ref, ‘Look at his eyes, look at his cuts,’” Pacquiao said. “I didn’t want to hurt him anymore.”
So in the end he turned in one of the most-dominating performances in recent years and then capped it off with a heart-warming act of kindness.
That’s Manny Pacquiao. One of a kind.
(Michael Rosenthal is an associate editor of The Ring magazine.)
Is the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) a tired and old league? Former Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner and ex-PBA sports commentator Chino Trinidad said, “It doesn’t matter if the PBA will have a two-conference or three-conference format next season, but it really needs to reinvent its identity because it looks like a tired and old league with only Ginebra as the one being consistently followed.” READ FULL STORY
By Pepper Marcelo
When it comes to martial arts, there are several styles of fighting which are recognized all over the world. From Asia, these include Japan’s Karate, Korea’s Taekwando, China’s Wushu and Thailand’s Muay Thai.
Filipino martial arts have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. Starting with a minor, underground cult appeal, it is poised to break out as a sports phenomenon not just in its full-contact incarnation, but as an exhibition and display of Pinoy culture as well.
Known by many names, styles and formats, including eskrima (as its known in Cebu and parts of the Visayas) or the more controversial moniker of kali, its official practitioners have preferred the name arnis, short for “arnis de mano,” which is derived from the Spanish phrase “harness of the hand.” Arnis has become the de facto umbrella term.
Referring, but not limited to stick fighting, arnis consists of weapons training utilizing a rattan stick, also called a baston, which is approximately 28 inches in length. It also encompasses empty-hand self-defense, including punching (suntukan), kicking (sikaran), locks and submissions (dumog). Besides the baston, a variety of impact and bladed weapons are also used, the latter of which Pinoys are considered the best in the world.
A milestone in the fighting style was marked last December when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law declaring arnis as the country’s official martial art and sport. Republic Act 9850 requires it to be a Physical Education course in all schools in the country as mandated by the Department of Education (DepEd). Previously, the unofficial sport was sipa or sepak takraw.
“Arnis is one sport which truly originated in our country, a part of our rich culture and tradition,” says Raymond Velayo, president of Arnis Philippines Inc. (ARPI). “First and foremost, I’m very elated at the developments because we’ve worked for so long for this.”
ARPI had persistently lobbied for the bill in both Houses of Congress since 1995, garnering support from a number of politicians, including then Senator Orly Mercado, the late Senator Robert Barbers, and then Congressman and now Senator Miguel Zubiri in 2001.
“We had to stress to lawmakers that the Philippines had not declared a national sport,” adds Velayo. Sipa was unofficial. If you look at the history books, sipa doesn’t exist, but arnis is part of our history.”
Before the Spaniards colonized the country, many indigenous tribes practiced and exhibited some form or variant of the technique, and using it to fend off invaders. With the colonization of the country, first by the Spaniards and then the Americans, Filipino martial arts and arnis slowly diminished in status.
In the 1970s, with the rise in popularity of foreign martial arts, spearheaded by Kung-Fu and ninja movies, there became a renewed interest in arnis and in its history and cultural significance.
In recent years, Filipino martial arts have been appropriated by a number of Hollywood action films. Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible 2), Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life) and Matt Damon (Bourne series) utilized the Pinoy fighting form or one of its many variants.
Considered the greatest martial arts action star of all time, Bruce Lee hinted at the impending greatness of arnis in his last movie before his untimely death. “In Game of Death, he was using two stick against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, instead of the nunchaku,” notes Velayo.
According to Velayo, one of the significant problems of re-introducing arnis to the general population is that there is not one technique or school in Filipino martial arts. It is as varied as, some observers say, as the archipelago’s 7,100 islands.
“There was resistance from groups that felt threatened that the umbrella group ARPI would change their system,” he says. “Filipinos are clannish. We have different dialects and a ‘mine-is-better-than-yours’ mentality. We don’t want these various styles to disappear, all styles must co-exist and be preserved.”
He emphasizes that ARPI’s goal is to provide strong leadership in order to hold together and consolidate the different schools and to wholly preserve their heritage and culture. Without a strong and consistent hand, he says, the Filipino martial arts’ 400-year-old history will fade away.
Amid the division, bickering and politicking, arnis’ sheer number and variety can be maximized to their fullest. Aside from its inclusion as a distinct event in the annual national amateur sports competition Palarong Pambansa – where before it was only an exhibition event – arnis is also featured in half a dozen local and international events, showcasing the myriad styles, forms and strains from regions and clubs all over the country.
Most significant of these events is the National Encounter, which is divided into two categories – the full contact competition and the exhibition or creative portion.
“The Ano or Kata – it’s so lovely and colorful,” says Velayo. “The natives wear costumes to show off their styles and movements.” There is even a program that caters to those in wheelchairs so the disabled can participate.
ARPI had successfully lobbied for its inclusion in the 1991 and 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The goal now is to have arnis included in other major international sporting events, culminating in the Olympics.
There are hurdles and prejudices to overcome before this can become a reality. “Medyo barbaric pa tayo, some people don’t want to think of this as a sport,” Velayo laments. “Remember, the Olympics were formed during a time of peace, because they wanted activities of friendship and camaraderie instead of war. Our approach as well is the same. We want to perpetuate its existence by turning it into a sport.”
Velayo points out that there is already an official arnis handbook of rules and regulations, and a specialized scoring system and scoreboard. Also, safety has been prioritized, with competitors not only donning protective head and body gear, but also using padded sticks that break instantly if excessive force was used, to prevent serious injury.
“Noong araw, they said it would not be played in the Olympics because it’s so deadly. But as a sport, we invented equipment for safety; it’s become one of the safer sports. It’s safer than boxing,” says Velayo.
With arnis now the official sport, there is greater awareness and recognition of its uses and benefits. More importantly, it gives the country ownership of a martial art that is destined to be a popular sport around the world in the near future.
“The new law gives confirmation that it’s ours. Arnis is our very own. If there comes a time when it becomes popular outside the country, people will know it comes from the Philippines. Whatever you say – it’s Filipino. We have to be proud of it and support its propagation around the world. Arnis is yet to come,” asserts Velayo.
By Doug Fischer
Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey lived up to its billing as an event — drawing the third biggest crowd to an indoor stadium in the U.S. — but it didn’t deliver much of a fight to the 50,994 fans who packed Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.
It’s obvious that Pacquiao’s on such a level that fights with good, solid fighters like Clottey will not produce compelling fights.
For a real event — one that would dwarf Saturday’s — and one that would deliver a compelling fight, Pacquiao’s next fight must be against the winner of the Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Jr. welterweight showdown on May 1. READ FULL STORY.
Manny Pacquiao is aiming for a fifth straight knockout victory when he puts his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on the line against Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, believes the Ghanian opponent, who has never been knocked out, will be a difficult assignment. But he is confident the Filipino boxing sensation can dispose of him within the distance.
“I think we’re going to get him (Clottey) in 12 easily, but he’s definitely a tough guy to knock out,” said Roach. “That’s our goal, to knock him out and be the first one to do that.”
“It’s a hard fight, of course, because he’s a true welterweight and a big, strong kid, so Pacquiao is going to have to really fight smart with his speed,” added Roach.
To ensure a knockout win, Roach said his ward has to box, in and out, side to side, and be very tactical because Clottey is a strong and big puncher with an iron chin.
Pacquiao, the undisputed pound-for-pound king, stopped his last four opponents — David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao carries a 50-3-2 record, with 38 knockouts.
The 32-year-old Clottey is coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Cotto last June, a fight many thought Clottey won. He has a 35-3 record, with 20 KOs.
Their bout will be fought at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Pacquiao weighed at 144 pounds when battled Cotto. Clottey, a big welterweight known to have trouble making the weight limit at times, has weighed more than 147 pounds in 11 bouts, including twice at 154 pounds.
Pacquiao left for Los Angeles on Jan. 17 to begin training at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Roach has lined up 154 and 160-pounders to spar with Pacquiao, including German Felix Sturm, the WBA middleweight champion, and Mexican Roberto Garcia, who fights at 154 and boasts a 29-2 record.
Pacquiao started out a 3-1 favorite for the March 13 bout, Examiner.com reported. Bettors need to wager $300 to win $100 on Pacquiao. Clottey will start at plus-270, meaning a $100 bet on him will earn $270.
The Pacquiao-Clottey bout replaced a previously scheduled highly-lucrative match-up between Pacquiao and five-time champ Floyd Mayweather fell through in early January over the issue of pre-fight anti-doping blood tests. Mayweather originally insisted they be conducted right up to the fight, while Pacquiao wanted a 30-day cut off before the bout. They were unable to reach a compromise.
The title fight will be held at the Cowboys Stadium, the billion-dollar state-of-the-art home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had put the facility forward as a venue for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Promoter Bob Arum is pleased with the choice of venue. “Jerry Jones knows exactly how big and important this event is, which is why it was so easy to put this deal together,” Arum said. “If Jerry could sell me on Cowboys Stadium and the North Texas market, you know he is going to have no problems selling out Cowboys Stadium on March 13.”
Jones said he was thrilled to host a bout involving a fighter of Pacquiao’s stature, regardless of his opponent, and even if the fight with Clottey won’t be the mega money-spinner that Pacquiao-Mayweather promised to be.
“Manny defending his title against Joshua Clottey is not just a great fight, it’s a great event, and one we can showcase to the fullest in Cowboys Stadium,” Jones said. “We’re going to promote this like it was the Super Bowl.”
The stadium won’t be configured for maximum 100,000 seating capacity. They’ll start out planning in the 40,000 seat range, but can increase that capacity if needed.
© 2012 Planet Philippines.
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