Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Future of Manny Pacquiao

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refuse to do something because they just "don't have the time" to do it. Time is endless, and we have many choices of what to do with it. But we always possess the requisite amount of time to do anything. When we say that we don't have the time to do something, what we are really saying is that we prefer to do something else with our time. Now, granted, if KOBEsh asks me to blog about the Knicks and I'm literally (correct use of the word "literally") in a meeting, I may not have the time to do it at the present moment, but I can always make time to do so later. Show me the man who has absolutely no free time in his life, and I'll show you a liar.

The Fighting Pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, may seem to fit the bill. He's an attentive Congressman on the islands, and when there's a fight looming, no athlete in the world trains as hard as fighters do. But even Pacman can be seen playing darts with his posse, engaging in serious religious group study, and the like. To put it another way, it's not that he doesn't have time to sleep with groupies, drink copious amounts of alcohol, or throw money away at a casino. It's that he chose to spend his time that he previously reserved for that past life, for the things that he currently does now.

So how does affect his choice to fight again?

When Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Pacquiao by knockout on December 8th, his elongated body plunged face-down into the mat, springing laughs, cries, and memes worldwide. After talking heads allowed the shock of the moment pass over, the first question they entertained, as always, is whether or not the beaten fighter will come back to the ring again.

And from there, the possibilities are endless. Is Pacquiao too old to fight again? Does he need to gain a competitive advantage the way Marquez allegedly did? Did he get knocked out because a religious life doesn't allow him to have the drive to physically destroy an opponent?

When I ventured back into my parents' country of origin years ago, I endured culture shock from beginning to end. As my family stepped into a car waiting for us, I saw many people walking to their next destination. As our car stopped at traffic lights and stop signs, people knocked on our windows hoping to sell knick-knacks and other various items that had a sole purpose of acting as legal tender. And whenever we had to step out of the car, a small child would run to us and stick his palm out for some coins, as if we were entering a live UNICEF commercial.

"You smell like America," my father said.

It would be ignorant of me to talk about the political structure of the Philippines. It would be similarly foolish of me to deny that a Pacquiao fight does not help the economy of a third-world country. But what I do know is that Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, once upon a time, looked at his busy schedule and decided to use his time to run for Congress. Pac himself used to be the little boy who tugged at my dry-cleaned pants looking for any way to make some extra money. By running for public office, he wanted to foster enough change so that there would be less Filipino boys and girls appearing on TV commercials that make you sad and sick to your stomach.

Merry Christmas Manny. Give your wife, your family, and your country what it needs, but not necessarily what it deserves (obligatory Batman reference whenever possible), and call it a career. Championships in eight different weight classes will defeat any argument that proposes to tarnish your legacy. There is nothing left to prove. By not choosing to fight again, you'll have more of the most precious commodity that you can use for the betterment of a nation that forced my parents to come here in order to give me a better life. You'll have an enormous surplus of the only limitless asset we will ever have: time.

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