There’s been a lot of grumbling, grumping, and complaining after welterweight Jeff Horn was declared the winner over sweet-science icon Manny Pacquiao in their World Boxing Organization championship bout in Brisbane.
The blame game and the sour-graping should stop.
Stop bullying Jeff Horn as well and cease calling his victory a product of “lutong-macao.” Pacquiao lost the boxing decision but in losing, he became the bigger winner than Horn after their fight.
Pacquiao the legendary sports hero brought pride to the Philippines in the past because of his boxing accomplishments. His ring exploits led to fame that allowed him to dabble in politics and professional basketball as a player-coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.
His being in politics makes it obvious why there are many Filipinos who did not feel sorry for him when he lost last week.
The Manny Pacquiao of years ago was a focused professional boxer. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, said the following after his defeat: “I think you cannot spend so much time as a senator and expect to be a world-class fighter.” Freddie Roach, his long-time coach and trainer shared Arum’s sentiments. “I’m gonna have a long talk with him about that. Because I think maybe being a senator, being a fighter, both is maybe too much,” he quipped.
It’s not only “a loss” for boxing and boxing fans. The best interests of Pacquiao’s constituents in the Philippines are also affected because of Pacquiao’s “part-time job” as a boxer (Or is it the other way around?).
Before running for a senate seat, Pacquiao made statements that he would quit boxing once he was elected senator because he was criticized for his numerous absences and no-shows during his stint in the lower house. In the senate, he became a disappointment to many who supported him and who viewed him as a champion of the underdog and the powerless because of his controversial and unpopular positions including his anti-gay, anti-reproductive health, pro-EJK, and pro-death penalty stand, not to mention his support for the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Then he took this last fight against Horn after an earlier announcement that there was an offer to fight in the Middle East.
Boxing is a form of entertainment to those who can stand watching two athletes beat each other up in the name of athletic competition. Despite the fact that the sanctioning World Boxing Organization had Horn as their top contender, ESPN’s boxing ranking does not have Horn on the top seven of the world’s best welterweights. After Horn won over Pacquiao, I checked ESPN’s ranking and again Horn is only listed as a ninth-ranked welterweight. Was this the reason why the match was not on pay-per-view in the U.S.?
To Horn’s credit, he turned out to be a tough boxer who refused to go down despite being outboxed and outpunched by Pacquiao, the aging-veteran. A victory over Horn would not have added a star to Pacquiao’s fabled boxing record and reputation because he was expected to win over Horn anyway. The Australian boxer has not faced any opponent of Pacquiao’s caliber and experience in his 17 fights as a professional.
But the judges saw it differently. For Pacquiao’s diehard fans and followers, why whine and complain? The controversial defeat was actually a blessing for him if he decides not to retire. People want to see an “injustice corrected” and there is a reported rematch clause with Horn.
If Pacquiao does not retire and decides not to fight a top-ranked welterweight like Kell Brook, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., or a heralded light-welterweight like Terence Crawford, Victor Postol, and Julius Indongo, then he has the second meeting with Jeff Horn. Nothing can be sweeter than having your cake and eating it too. Pacquiao and Horn meet again and boxing as a sporting game continues after suffering another black eye.
Until next week.
Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.