Manny Happy Returns

By Robert Ecksel on November 4, 2016
Manny Happy Returns
Saturday’s fight in Vegas has subtexts galore to go along with the preexisting narrative.

Pacquiao’s willingness to “rebuke someone if they are doing wrong” does not extend to Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte…

On Saturday, November 5, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs), the senator from General Santos City, Philippines, gets it on with WBO World welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs), the 27-year-old from Las Vegas by way of Los Angeles, California.

Pacquiao has been one of the great fighters of our time and can still perform, even at the age of 37, like a man a decade younger. But he is on the downside of his career, having lost three of his last seven fights, to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and the embarrassing loss, made worse by a lame post-fight excuse, to Floyd Mayweather in 2015.

He has also not stopped an opponent since 2009, when he crushed Ricky Hatton in two rounds. So promises of a knockout, no matter who is making the promise, need be taken with a grain of salt.

Vargas, with 10 knockouts in 28 fights, isn’t likely to stop Pacquiao. But the reigning and defending champion won’t sleepwalk through the bout, unlike some of Manny’s recent opponents, and believes that beating Pacquiao will catapult him into superstardom.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage,” said Vargas on a recent teleconference call, “make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being. I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it.

“The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Saturday’s fight has subtexts galore to go along with the preexisting narrative. Pacquiao, for example, should he emerge victorious, will be the first senator to win a world title.

“I am fighting for history,” he said. “I was the first sitting congressman to win a world title. For this one, it is not enough to be the first sitting senator to fight for a world title. I want to be the first senator to become world champion. For me, that would be quite an accomplishment.”

However gratifying that factoid might be, the knock on Pacquiao is that he lost his killer instinct when he gave up his depraved former life and embraced Christianity. Under normal circumstances—whatever normal signifies in the midst of bountiful abnormality—that could mean the end of a fighter’s career, and Pacquiao did retire from the sport, however briefly. But Manny wasn’t done with boxing. He wanted to fight again and has managed to divide his time between his senatorial duties and the rigors of the fight game.

“It took discipline to manage my time effectively,” Pacquiao said. “I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.

“I do not underestimate Jessie Vargas. He is a good strong champion. You cannot fight at this level and be successful by underestimating your opponent. Every opponent gets my full attention and respect. I respect Jessie and that is why I trained hard. This is the most important fight because it will determine the direction of my boxing career. I need to win convincingly.”

Whether Pacquiao wins or loses convincingly, his role as a politician, even as he psyches himself for Saturday’s pay-per-view fight, is never far from his mind.

“I enjoy politics because I do not have a hidden agenda,” he said. “I serve honestly. That’s a good thing for me because I’m not ashamed to tell the truth. I’m not ashamed to rebuke someone if they are doing wrong. Government is for serving the people, not for serving oneself.”

Evidence of Pacquiao’s willingness to “rebuke someone if they are doing wrong” does not extend to Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he has close ties.

Duterte is a demagogue. He is also awash in blood. Neither of which, apparently, warrants rebuke from the man who asserts his Christian values at every opportunity.

Pacquiao may be a “useful idiot” when it comes to Duterte, who Manny said was anointed by God to “discipline” the Philippine people, or he may just be whistling past the graveyard. In any case, Duterte, who not long ago compared himself to Hitler, at least has an appreciation of boxing.

“I am no boxing expert,” he said at a news conference this week, “but if [a knockout] does happen, it should be in the early rounds. If it goes beyond seven or eight rounds, he could tire out. He might lose his punching power. Manny can hit him, knock him down.”

Maybe Duterte should stick to boxing and leave governing to the humane.

The same goes for Manny.

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  1. rd 10:26pm, 11/11/2016

    keep your comments to boxing you airhead
    going to places blindfolded will get you nowhere.
    get your facts not hearsay!

  2. Eric 07:44am, 11/06/2016

    oops. Meant to say villified by being compared to Hitler.

  3. Eric 07:42am, 11/06/2016

    Think about this for a second. How many times is a present day leader who falls out of favor with the American media villified or compared to Hitler? Why is it always Hitler? Why not Emperor Hirohito, Mussolini, Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, hell even people like Napoleon, Francisco Franco, or better yet, present day, Angela Merkel? Even on, I would dare say that the name Hitler appears in more articles than some past heavyweight champions.

  4. Eric 07:17am, 11/06/2016

    EVERYONE has an opinion on political leaders, history and/or politics. As someone who has been criticized by some of my followers/trolls on this site for my political views and for talking politics on a boxing website, let me say that many of the writers articles at are very political. I actually enjoy the political discussions, after all, how much can one talk about a couple of half naked, sweaty men, trying to cave each others skulls in. IF you don’t think that there is a political slant to, I challenge you to go to the bottom of the article and look at the entry titled “Tags"with the listing of the names mentioned in the article. Now click on the name, “Hitler.” It will show you all the articles that have mentioned “Hitler,” and believe me, it is quite a few of them. While I am not an expert on WWI, WWII, or Hitler, I find it hilarious or rather pathetic, reading what some of the things written by someone whose only education on the subject is what they’ve been told to believe by such biased sources as the so-called “HistoryChannel,” a history book approved by propaganda czars, or worst yet, Hollywood. In my 50 plus years on this Earth, I have NEVER seen a Hollywood produced movie based on the German perspective of WWII. Hell, didn’t Clint Eastwood even produce a WWII movie a few decades back telling the WWII story from a Japanese perspective?? Keep in mind, people will always have bias, prejudice, or some hidden agenda when discussing politics or history. That is why getting to the TOTAL TRUTH can be a bitch for those who simply seek the TRUTH.

  5. Zam 11:49pm, 11/05/2016

    I like our very own President Duterte… and he does well to fight the meance of drug abuse. I like Manny Pacquio, our sports champion and soon to be our President. And i don’t like Ekcsel, a sportswriter, who confuse his career to becoming a political commentator in a sports webpage.

  6. edgar a. de dios 02:06pm, 11/05/2016

    Mr. Eckzel it’s better you stick to boxing instead of touching on the local affairs of another free and democratic country. You will be prone to errors if you stick to your present ways of straying to non-sport subjects. You know very little about our country, and I’m sure you depend solely on the existing media, the press and television in molding your ideas about foreign politics. With that you will be prone to mistakes which would only leave a bad taste in your opinions. Come to our shores first to have fresh and first hand info about our well-loved President before you dip your mind into our local affairs. Duterte is the best President we ever have in my lifetime. I am now 65 years old, and I’m so happy and very thankful to God we have him as our present leader. Had he not come, we could now be swarmed by drug addicts left and right. And we would be in fear every minute of our existence. You just didn’t know the extent of our problem. So, please, just stick to boxing!!!!!

  7. Dutertefan 01:36pm, 11/05/2016

    The author Ecksel doesn’t excel in writing about boxing. He is a political sidekick of Trump and an admirer of Hillary at the same breadth. I bet you if his relative was drugged, brutally raped and murdered, he would jump out of his shell and expose himself, outdoing Duterte. ;-)

  8. Koolz 12:15pm, 11/05/2016

    Is an awesome Gentleman!  The kind that will kick your damn ass if you mess with his country!

    Very good Eric.  There are many boogymen created by the Jesuits.  You will be happy to know that every single thing about history is a complete lie and was rewritten by the Jesuit monks.(I mean everything!)

    I think the Pacman is going to be to experienced for Vargas.  I am going to be seeing the fight a day late, I better stay off the net.

  9. Eric 06:22am, 11/05/2016

    The Duterte comparison to Hitler was how Hitler had come in and cleaned up the cesspool that was Berlin. Berlin was a modern day Sodom and Gomorah, awashed in pornography, opium dens, and all types of sexual perversion for sale. Lets not forget that Hitler turned Germany completely around from a poverty stricken country that had been humiliated by the ridiculous proposals of the victors in WWI that stripped Germany of much of its territories in the Treaty Of Versailles, into a successful world power once again in a mere 5 years. Hitler was even awarded the The Man Of The Year by Time magazine during this same period. Common working class Germans who were starving and eating in soup lines just a few years earlier were gifted with free cruises courtesy of The State. Germany was the envy of Europe and the quite possibly the World at this time. Hitler drained the cesspool, dumped the banksters and cleaned up Berlin in no time flat. Once Hitler got rid of the stealing banksters, he had Germany’s economy booming. Muammar Gaddafi, was yet another boogeyman created by our media. Gaddafi had done wonders for his people and at the same time helped prevent mass flooding of African “refugees"from flooding Europe’s borders. I see here with comments from actual Filipinos that “our” media is once again trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

  10. conan 02:01am, 11/05/2016

    @Robert Ecksel | STFU! you knew nothing about Philippine people.

  11. wbox 10:37pm, 11/04/2016

    People who think Duterte is bad do not verify details. Or they may be corrupt, drug user, or relative, dependent or friend of one. Duterte and Pacquiao have no peer when it comes to sheer performance. Nobody comes close. No bull!

  12. Jigcz Dekahana 10:22pm, 11/04/2016

    Maybe Ecksel should just stick to boxing and leave political commentary to others.

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