5/03/2015
You know?

Six years ago, I was in my office's meeting room, having a one-on-one Skype call with the big boss from Seattle. One-on-one, meaning it's one of those calls where they seriously review what we've done the past few months - and where more effusive praise is doled out. Or at least that's how I remember it. It's six years ago. It's quite far back.

"So," he begins, "do you think Pacquiao and Mayweather will fight?"

I was taken aback. Yes, it's small talk, but I wasn't expecting a conversation about boxing. Or, well, I wasn't expecting small talk. Come on. This was six years ago. I was extremely awkward and already pretty jaded about relationships, whether it be friendly or romantic. Or professional. And here we are, talking about boxing.

I don't remember what I answered, but the thread went on for a good minute. I must've said something about it being a match everybody was looking forward to, because Manny Pacquiao was a boxer on the rise, and Floyd Mayweather was a boxer with a perfect record and a nice spot on the top, or so my limited knowledge told me.

At least I could say I saw a Mayweather match. I was in Cuyeg's place, actually. We were working on our thesis, with Jason. I can't recall if we were shooting some new scenes, or if we were working on our paperwork. Actually, I'm now not sure if it was a Mayweather match. I'm definite it is. I'm definite it's the one with Ricky Hatton. But forgive me. It has been too long.

That Skype call, though. That impressed to me the fact that Pacquiao's fortunes is no longer just a Filipino concern. I mean, here's a guy from Seattle, asking one of his indirectly-employed men about it.

In the years since, Pacquiao's star continued to rise. He pummeled through many Mexican foes; when that ran out, he began pummeling Americans (and Hatton, but who remembers that?) We saw him shift from plucky boxer to genuine phenomenon, from convenience store owner to political figure, from hapless (alleged) womanizer to confident man of God. And then there's Jinkee. And then there's Mommy D. And then there's his English during post-fight interviews. You know?

In the years since, Mayweather kept his spotless record, and cultivated (I know how hipster that sounds) a persona of a cocky, confident man who shows off all that he's earned. Here and there he would float the possibility of facing Pacquiao, the one big boxer he hasn't faced, but then there would be excuses, some legitimate, some just plain stupid to spectators. Inadvertently he cultivated the image of a chicken, a man running away from the one person who could either legitimize his legacy - or tarnish it.

And this went on for six years, until early this year, both sides finally agreed to face each other. By then, Mayweather's more known for his off-ring dalliances, and perhaps for getting the attention of Justin Bieber. (Birds of the same feather flock together? Chickens are birds too, right?) Pacquiao, on the other hand, has lost some of his luster, losing his dominant position in a string of defeats. He also seemed to be very distracted, what with his political career, his music career, his television career, his religious career, and most recently, his basketball career. Dude is seriously trying to catch up. But hey, it's finally happening, Pacquiao and Mayweather are finally facing off. We can finally settle this once and for all. Will Pacquiao put a one where that zero has sat all this time, or will Mayweather just flick him off like everyone else?

The latter, as it turns out.

So much for the flustered phone calls to Sky Cable when the feed cut out just before the match. So much for all the pay per view tickets we paid for all these years, of inadvertently absorbing all these things about just how boxing works and what you look for and that stuff. I'm no sports guy. I can't sprout off stats and insights like my brother or my father. But boxing is something I easily get, perhaps because it's, well, two people punching each other as cleanly as possible.

Well, yes, the fight was disappointing, but the result wasn't. Now, I'm not being a Pacquiao hater. I did say he should retire while he's still on top, but I also wanted him to defeat Mayweather. But whether it's caution or just sheer nerves, he just proved to be a worse fighter than Mayweather in this instance. Well, Mayweather didn't do much, but he smartly took advantage of Pacquiao's jitters. And we thought it was he who had the jitters.

As if that would placate most people. Every ambiguous Pacquiao defeat - especially this one, emotionally-charged as it is, and one where he did seem ahead of the scorecards - would always be met with "luto!" comments, with insults and infighting, immediately undoing the supposed "zero crime rate" thing that happens whenever a fight comes on. There'd be the wrangling over whether "Lupang Hinirang" was sung correctly. There'd be the endless interviews with Mommy D. You know the drill.

I was at the barber shop this afternoon, around half past two. By then the actual match was over for a good hour and a half; the free TV outlets were just hitting round 11. That was what's on at the barber shop, but nobody was talking about it. They already knew the result, of course.

"Napanood namin sa San Jose," my barber told me, referring to a nearby subdivision. "Inimbitahan kami ng customer namin."

And then things return to normal.

And your responses...

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