Boxing is not my cup of tea. I don’t take any pleasure in watching two hapless men beat each other up and turned their faces into hamburger. However, with history unfolding in front of my eyes, and with many experts claiming he is the greatest fighter of my time (or all time for that matter as others will argue), and him being my countryman, I just cannot pass this up. So I was one of the millions who watched Pacquiao vs Margarito last night, even if I have to shell out almost $60 to see it on my TV.
As I was watching Pacquiao pound his much larger opponent at will, my mind fluttered to another era…….
It was the era when my father was still around. He was a big fan, and is fond of boxing. He had stories that when he was a kid, he and his friends will wrap sackcloth in their fists and box. He even had stories refereeing his younger brothers boxing each other (they were 9, with 5 boys). I guess, there was no basketball court in their rice fields yet. He will tell us stories about great Filipino boxers of his time like Flash Elorde. His world would stop , as he would drop everything, to see Ali, or Frazier fight. And even though he made a rule in our house that we cannot eat our meal in front of the TV, he himself will break this rule so he could watch a televised boxing match.
(While I was watching the Pacquiao’s fight, my wife also told me that her late father was a big boxing fan too and even had his own street fistfights during his younger years. It is hard to believe that this 2 peace-loving men have such an appetite for such a savage sport like boxing.)
Though boxing is just a sports, to my father, perhaps boxing may have deeper meaning: to fight against the bigger adversaries of life. Being only a shade above five feet, not because of his short stature but due to a deformed back from severe spinal kyphosis (hunchback), he have faced more than his share of challenges.
I can just imagine the ridicule of other kids when he was young. He also had to work, or more aptly, fight his way to get a decent education due to the circumstances their family had. But he rose up to succeed against the unfair battle that life had thrown him. My father even remained in tip-top condition as he took up running to keep healthy despite his impairment. In fact, we had overlooked his deformity, for to us it was a perfect imperfection. Until a much tougher opponent, a brain tumor, decimated him. But I will say, he did not go without a fight………
When the boxing fight was over, and Pacquiao was officially announced as the winner, I was really happy for him and for all my countrymen. And knowing Pacquiao’s humble beginnings just made it more sweet. He definitely made us proud.
As I witnessed a good fight and perhaps boxing history, I just have one regret. I wished my father had witnessed it too.