RESURRECTION Can Manny Pacquiao Rise Again?

Let not your heart sink to a stupor for Manny Pacquiao. As a fighter, he was prepared for the little death of failure long before he experienced it against Juan Manuel Marquez. Instead of evicting it from your soul, let the image sink deep inside your heart. Embrace it.

Let it be what it is: a reminder; a prompt.

There he lay, slumped over on the cold, blue floor, helpless as a babe. He sleeps now in a womb of despair; a hero has fallen. All of them must. Everyone. Let it wash over you. Even someone as strong and fierce as Manny Pacquiao can be made in an instant but a slumping pile of pitiful flesh by something as painfully simple as one thunderous right hand.

(photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank)

Manny Pacquiao knew what he was in for. He signed up for it from the very first time he cruelly bit down on his rigid mouthpiece with brutal intentions. What happened to him happens to almost everyone should they fight long enough or against good enough competition to be worth the effort, and the threat of it was with him in every second of every round of every fight. Every single punch thrown at Manny Pacquiao his entire boxing life has been a prelude to this moment.

Pacquiao had encountered these things before. They had whizzed by him. They had rattled his brain, cut flesh, sent him to the floor. They had pummeled his body, made him bleed, hurt his soul. Yet each time before this one (at least during the last two decades), he was able to soldier on back into the fray.

Not this time. This time he was laid asunder by someone who, as Ron Borges put it, was “a skillful artist in a world of butchers.”

Yes, boxing is full of these little miseries. Truth be told, it’s why we watch. We love it. Manny knows this. He had gloriously created some of the most memorable of these little testaments in recent history. We imbibed them all, including the one strikingly familiar to this one, it seems, Pacquiao’s 2009 annihilation of Ricky Hatton.

Oh, these little miseries.

But seeing a man curled up on the ground in the desperate throes of failure isn’t the only reason we watch boxing. No, that mode of thinking is incomplete. We are not sadists. Boxing mimics life, you know, and there is no greater object of adoration in life than that of resurrection. Large or small, it’s something as simple as this: we want them to get back up. RISE.

The religious connotations are easily apparent, but the motif itself is rife within our popular culture. We especially like it in our movies. We want to see Batman rise, rise, rise in the The Dark Knight trilogy no matter how insane or terrifying the obstacle before him. All hope is lost in The Lord of the Rings before Frodo somehow manages to get that ring into Mordor. Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance are hopelessly overmatched by a Death Star-wielding Darth Vader in Star Wars, but somehow he still prevails.

Yes, our greatest heroes are always those who rise to the occasion, who stand and deliver, who do what must be done despite the odds, especially when it counts most and when things seem most bleak. It’s the same in sports. Derek Jeter is down two strikes to none in the bottom of the ninth with a man on, can he get the hit? Michael Jordan has the ball with time waning, can he make the shot? Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone…etc, etc, etc. It repeats itself over and over and over again. We love resurrections.

The boxing world loves them, too. Look no further than Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise. How many times can Rocky get back up? How much more can he endure against bigger, stronger and meaner opponents?  Apollo Creed is too fast. Clubber Lang has the eye of the tiger. My Gawd!! That Russian is on steroids!!! Still, we expect Rocky to win every single time, and if he loses we expect him to come back stronger than ever. Not because it’s easy, but precisely because it’s so very hard.

We want our real fighters to do this, too. We want to see them rise like Rocky. We demand it.

Some of them do. When Evander Holyfield fought Mike Tyson in 1996, few thought he had a chance. Tyson was as mean and scary even then, and Holyfield had lost two of his last four fights, including one by knockout to the heavy-handed Riddick Bowe. He had looked old and washed up in the process. Tyson, on the other hand, appeared unbeatable. He had emerged from prison the menacing marauder he was before his incarceration wearing quite rightfully the moniker of the baddest man on the planet. He was Iron Mike Tyson. He was invincible. We seem to forget this now.

It would be ugly, people thought. Fans, media, friends and family all pleaded with Holyfield not to take the fight. It would be a bloodletting. He might die in there. It was suicide.

Tyson moved Holyfield violently with the first punch he landed. It appeared doom and gloom for him just like they said, but then all of a sudden, it just wasn’t. Holyfield stood his ground and fought back with vigor. Somehow, the bully Tyson became the bullied, and by the end of what was probably the surprise resurrection of the decade, the unthinkable had occurred: Evander Holyfield had defeated Mike Tyson by TKO in the eleventh.

Boxing writer John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Review Journal summed the shock of it all.

It ended inexplicably, with Mike Tyson foggy-headed and tasting his own blood. Mike Tyson, incapable of firing even a single punch in his defense. Mike Tyson, unable to recount what had just occurred; unable to even raise his voice.

Evander Holyfield had risen, and though in boxing one must fall for another to rise, the beauty of the sport was on full display that night. Holyfield’s career had come back from the dead.

Boxing history is full of examples such as this one for those who choose to find them, but this isn’t a historical analysis. This is about now and the future. It’s about Manny Pacquiao and the next step in his career. Will he rise? Will he endure? Will the boulder of failure be rolled away in the end?

It is a difficult thing, this resurrection. Only the bravest attempt it. Of those that do, many more fail at it. There is, in fact, certain greatness in the attempt itself, but the rarest and most celebrated triumph is for those who both attempt and achieve it. These are our heroes, our legends, our resurrections.

So rise if you dare, Manny Pacquiao, RISE.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Nice copy! I woulda said it that way myself. But right now I have this racist stalker, who will likely be evicted from this Universe before long, tailing me like a lost bytch puppy. Dude is spittin' all type hated nonsense that is typical of the ugly one. Bigoted racists like him always start with type of music and food. And they pretend to be a different ethnicity while posting that two ethnicities -- "black and Mexicans -- are superior. We have seen this bozo in the old Universe and this new one before. His syntax never changes. And he doesn't get it. Merry Christmas yall! Don't get so phat that you will lose your balance and fall. Holla!:u

-Radam G :

In the words of Layla Ali: "Negro, PLEASE! Holla!

-ali :

Pac is done as a elite fighter. He can come back and beat guys like Rios and maybe Bradley but not the skilled top guys.


Brilliant read again by Kelsey,keep them like that, this is what makes this site one of the best around .Also the brilliant comments by some of the readers and not forgetting the great humour by some ,Radam and Deepwater come to mind and they know their stuff.Just like to wish every one a Merry Christmas from the United Kingdom.

-mortcola :

Manny's skills have not deteriorated. That is not it.

-mander :

marquez didn;t ko'd pacquiao, manny ko'd himself, fighting a well prepared dinamita will surely blow up any boxer with half baked training...

-Norberto :

As a person gets old and preoccupied with many taxing activities physically and mentally and sometimes both then the body will conked out like a machine and stopped generating power. That is what Pacquiao is suffering despite of his well-advertised physical conditioning treatment his body could not respond to the rigors of boxing where he excelled before. If Pacquiao would have only remained focus in boxing as his only profession,he would still be unbeaten. Perhaps he would have learned and harnessed more his skills. But what happened after a grueling fight though he won, he return to his old form of socializing for political reasons and much more imbued in his work as an elected officials carrying on his shoulder many problems of his local constituents. Boxing and politics cannot be mixed together as both the mind and body will carry the burden and tend to overwork and will exhaust. Physical conditioning will only be palliatives but cannot sustain to go back to the previous healthy form used to demolish foes as they are all gone. In every Marquez fight whether he came out as a winner or loser Marquez always embarked on a long training and remained focus. Pacquiao's mind is more than willing to rise again, but what about his body which already suffered convulsion, could it take the pain?

-brownsugar :

The question for Paq is not "IF" he can come back,... it's,... how badly does he want it? fighters who once feared him will step up bolder and braver than ever believing they have the potential to inflict another devastating KO.... If he comes back, he'll need to fight harder than ever. Paq doesn't necessarily have to retire.. but If I were sitting on a $25 million dollar pile of money and had a prestigious ready made desk job(politics) waiting for me..... I'd certainly give it some consideration.

-Radam G :

Knowing what would have been is the driving force for Da Manny's comeback and payback. Now if he would have taken a whuppin,' he would be glad about a pile of moola and politics. You dance to the music, you pay to the piper. In 2013, Da Manny will be a God-and-people-serving pugilistic viper. Holla!

-Radam G :

Lookin' GOOD! So clean the Universe is again. I'm lovin' it! Belated Xmas ta' ya! Holla!

-mortcola :

Simple. Every superior element of Pac's game was on full display in this last fight. Marquez nailed him. Period. Apart from those two punches, pac dominated Marq more thoroughly than in any of the three prior fights.

-Radam G :

Inspired by what Lennox Lewis is spittin,' I'm calling it now. A none reckless-and-rushing PacMan by vicious knockout in Fight V. Marquez will be even more slower and fragile. With the help of "Falling" Angel (Memo) Heredia, Marquez was buffed and body beautiful, but his facial skin was easy to crack open, and his facial bones, including his nose and eyesockets were much too easy to break and fracture. For whuppin' Da Manny's arse, Marquez came out of the fight the most physically and psychologically damaged. And it is all because of his association with the Falling Angel -- an archmaster of escaping cheating with roids and PEDs. Holla!

-teaser :

Manny can be back if he wants to ..was looking good and entertaining (which is important to him give the fans a good fight )..... he has had to deal with being devastatingly knocked out cold early in his career not so much of a shock to him this time around. Oh and glad to see that embarrassment to Mexican and Chicanos has been banned in that persona ...but I know that like most hemorrhoids it will be back.

-Radam G :

BTW, teaser, I double doubt that he was a Mexican/Chicano. Dude is good at pretending. And YUP! He always find a way to disturb our Universe. Holla!

-Real Talk :

Aye Radam, everybody aint on steroids just because Pac got knocked out. C'mon cuz. My take on Manny, he looked sloppy in that fight like he hasn't been training like a champion. I saw flashes and spurts of his A-game but he could not sustain it and I'll bet almost everything it's because he has not been on his routine. He stops working with his conditioning coach, that's another thing. Last but certainly not least" LORD forgive me for this" Buboy SHUT THE **** UP in the corner. You don't know enough to hold Roach's jockstrap. Let the master coach do his job and GET OUT THE WAY with all the chattering and jabbering. Know your roll and stay in your lane. Instruction between rds should be simple and short, not all that badababada. Yeah I said it, WHAT?!?! Dueces

-Radam G :

Real Talk, let me handle that. Marquez didn't use steroids to help kayoed Da Manny. He used steroids to get an edge with the judges if the bout went the distance. It is a hard, hard fact that Hulk-looking, buffed-up fighters are in. And the traditional body-type of ectomorph is out. Nine out of 10 times, heavy muscular fighters get close decisions and are given gift ones. Bradley didn't beat Da Manny, and Vasquez didn't lose to "The Filipino Flash in a close split decision. Both Da Manny and TFF were shafted. Dat steroids and PEDs don't work in boxing anyway. As it doesn't work in basketball, bowling or socker. Word to the wise! Aesthetic effect! Not a whup@$$ one. Marquez's skills and trickery and trainer Berstrein (name misspelled) and slick sucka punching beat Da Manny, not weak-@ss steroids and/or PEDs. And just so that you know, Buboy is in the corner to translate TNT Freddie Roach's English into Pilipino so that Da Manny can understand clearly 100 percent. The meaning of certain English words have no exact match in Da Manny's dialect. Buboy can translate those words. Holla!

-Radam G :

I meant that Buboy can interpret English to Pilipino and to Da Manny's dialect. For example when freddie says, "You're looking good," Manny could misuderstand Freddie as saying that Da Manny is good looking/handsome. See Boboy knows to apply the different, correct interpretation of the same term. See in Pilipino, "Pogi ka ngayon" is difference from "Nag-gagawa imo galing karon." Literally the first Pilipino term is, "You are good looking/handsome now." The second term means, "You are doing well now." In English, "You are looking good" can be a 1,001 things when you don't know how to apply it to the situation. Holla!