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You Are Always our “Pambansang Kamao!”

By Prodie Padios

Open Letter From Canada:

Cong. Manny Pacquiao:

Manny Pacquiao, left, lands a straight left against Juan Manuel Marquez in the first round in their 4th fight held in MGM, Las Vegas on December 8, 2012.

Manny Pacquiao scores a knocked down against Juan Manuel Marquez in round 5 in their 4th fight held in MGM, Las Vegas on December 8, 2012.

If you retire now, that records are still integral and un-paralleled. But millions of your fans and “Kababayans” wanted you to avenge that devastating knocked out—if not, the “images of nightmare” in our memories will continue to haunt us.

Dear Champ:

We, Filipinos in Canada, especially here in Red Deer, Alberta, were very saddened and shocked for the sixth round devastating knocked out you suffered from the hands of your boxing archenemy, Juan Manuel Marquez, in MGM, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., on December 8, 2012.

Yes, it was so agonizing–we are not used to it–to watch you go down, floored as brutally as you once floored Ricky Hatton.

It was even more painful to watch your wife, Jinkee, who was hysterically screaming; crying as she tried to scrape her way into the ring.

As your million fans, the scary and shocking images possibly haunt us for many years.

HERE in Red Deer, the day of your fight (as we always do every time you have boxing fight) we took our day-offs from our jobs.

Even how busy we are with our respective jobs, we tried our best to take our vacations just to watch you.

Every time you have fight, lots of Filipinos—almost every Filipino households—here are buying the Pay-Per-View (P.P.V.).

We usually invite fellow Filipinos—and even Canadian acquaintances who happened to be your fans—into our houses to watch for you; and “feast” with us for your success (yes, we are always preparing Filipino foods along with the Canadian foods every time you have fight).

This serves as our “get together” with the fellow Filipinos here.

For us, you are our “bridge” from abroad to our beloved country, Philippines.

You are our pride; our hero—you are always our “Pambansang Kamao” (National Fist)!

For that “one-punch”—many considered as lucky punch—that put you down, is not enough for us to get upset forever: “you are still and always our Champion!”

Yes, the “People’s Champ!”

For me as a writer (I used to work as Literary Editor of one of the magazines of the Manila Bulletin before we migrated with my family here in Canada in 2006), I wrote dozens of articles about you already. I published mostly in our Ilocano Magazine, the Bannawag, and now that I am here in Red Deer, in my blog, the “Filipino Connections,” at the

With all my previous articles about you, I was very eager, proud and inspired in writing them. But with this article, my heart was really sniveling, and distraught.

However, with the character you showed us before, during and after the fight with Marquez, we realized and proved again that you are truly a blessed human being with courage, grace, and true humility.

You are truly the “Idolo ng Masa!”

And we are all proud of you!

There is nothing to mortify with your defeat, Champ!

We know that from this K.O., as you have said: “We’ll rise again!”

That would be a very optimistic attitude! And we know, you can—and mean it—do that!

You had proven that to us already from the first knocked out you suffered from Rustico Torrecampo, the first boxer who defeated you.

You took that defeat as the challenge for you to rise again—and you did not only simply succeed, but put your name and our country, Philippines, to the map of the whole world being the one and only boxer, pound-por-pound king with the unprecedented accolade: “8-Divisions Champ!”

That would be a phenomenal achievement—perhaps, no one can break that record!

We really salute you with your exceptional courage and heroism.

In accepting the fight with Marquez for the fourth time, the most dangerous counter puncher, you risked your record and your life.

With all your fights with Marquez, we are very proud of you.

With those 42-rounds, you floored him five times!

Our hearts and respect to you did not take by the one-lucky-punch!

Actually, we were pleased with your fourth fight with Marquez. With your strategy of aggressiveness, you took the fight from the Mexican warrior.

It was not the only strategy available to you. You could have fought cautiously, waiting Marquez out, forcing him out from his counterpunching comfort zone by making him instigate the action.

But you didn’t do that. You are not like that. You were always there to initiate the good fight so that the “people will be happy.”

You knew the risk but you wanted a clear outcome.

You were always willing to take the risk.

An early forewarn of the risk was when Marquez floored you down in the third round with a counterpunch.

And in that first knockdown, Marquez proved he had sufficient power in his punches to take you out—which he failed to do that from the three previous fights.

And, yet, you kept coming—and tried to win big!

In the fifth round, you knocked Marquez down; broke and bloodied his nose so badly.

Marquez was having trouble breathing.

“If not that lucky punch, Manny should have been knock out or TKO Marquez in seventh or eighth round,” said Buboy Fernandez, your best friend and assistant coach.

Marquez admitted that: “I knew, any time, Manny could knock me out!” And he was so lucky to execute that over-hand punch at the dying second of sixth round that ended the fight.

We knew, you were ahead on all three scorecards: 47-46, and you were about to be ahead 57-55 after dominating the sixth round.

You were also decisively ahead on all Compu-box statistics: you landed over 90 punches while Marquez less than 60.

Regardless of the defeat, you still showed us the true meaning of gentleman and humility.

In your stool, when you gained consciousness, with remorseful, honest smile, you accepted that Marquez was the luckier and better man of the night: “He caught me, didn’t he?”

In the post fight interviews, you were honest in saying: “It’s boxing… That’s sports.”

In the HBO post-fight interview, Larry Merchant was trying to get you to take the bait on the issue of the possibility that Marquez was on PED (Performance enhancing Drugs).

He tried to get you to say there was something unnatural about Marquez’s power in this fight —power that had became suddenly much greater after a training camp in which he hired a known dealer of performance enhancing drugs– Angel Guillermo “Memo” Heredia –to be his strength and conditioning coach.

Prior to your fourth fight with Marquez, Marquez’s more muscular physique and his relationship with admitted steroids distributor Heredia attracted attention.

Even Freddie Roach, your multi-awarded coach, did not hesitate to tell his view regarding Marquez was on juice.

Marquez vehemently denied using any type of performance-enhancing drug.

“As far as people thinking I am taking steroids? I would take the test,” he dared. “Let them take my blood. I don’t care. [I would do it] just to shut everybody up. Of course my fight tests have always been clean. I don’t know how those rumors get started.”

Of course: we have to give him the benefits of the doubt.

But sometimes, we cannot avoid suspicion: if he is truly clean and honest—and not intend to use any performance-enhancing drugs—in the first place, why he hired Heredia as his strength and conditioning coach?


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