Pieces Of A Man: I Am Manny Pacquiao – The Boxer

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"It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

I've had a long-standing love affair with the brutal sport of boxing. I love the big fights. I love the small fights. I love the winners and, depending on the fight in the dog, the losers. Before I was married (and later divorced), I even had my bachelor party at "Mickey Ward vs Arturo Gatti 3," to the chagrin of some of the men that attended. To hell with them. I was never into strippers anyway.

I've also had a long-standing love affair with the Internet. AllHipHop.com, my company, was founded in the late 1990s and blossomed in the 2000s. I feel like I've seen it all online, from the inside to the outside. The AllHipHop Ill Community is just that—ill. It's a monster that we created in many ways and it continues as such. But, the Internet has changed in the advent of social media, viral connections and a larger, more sinister monster has emerged. This beast is merciless with yellow teeth and it comprises of millions of collective people that band together in waves, surrounding the epic moments in history. It all started humorously, I believe, maybe even innocently.

Manny Pacquiao in an epic bout by knockout to his long-running rival Juan Manuel Márquez. The dirty ball of jokes and spectator humor traveled downhill rapidly and collected more and more filth as it descended into a full-fledged mudslide. Every fool with a photo app, Twitter account or Facebook page was sharing pictures that only a few people had actually created. People were seemingly getting their rocks off. There were pictures of him laying on the beach, or with Michael Jackson leaning over top him saying "Manny are you okay?" Seriously, these were funny and others, funnier. But, as it went on, these humorous exploits became uglier and more mean-spirited.

I was done with the jokes when one of my Twitter followers (and one-time college classmate) responded to a Pac Man quote I tweeted with "RIP."

(The gem of a tweet said: "It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.” - Manny Pacquiao. )

My blood started to boil a bit at the notion that somebody would find that a fair response to a man the was still very alive and still had a career in this sport should he choose to.

I am Manny Pacquiao.

The quote that began this phenomenal op-ed is one by Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. I don't know much more about Teddy, but I put this quote to memory in the 1990s and it has followed me through every stage of my life. From it I draw a lot of strength particularly when I have gone through trying times with an audience in full view.

Maybe I'm getting sensitive as life goes on, but I felt for Manny. In fact, I was definitively prompted to write this after I saw a picture of a smiling Manny consoling his doting wife, who appeared to be weeping uncontrollably. I felt their pain and then, with the backdrop of callous jokes and sideline commentary, grew angrier. I thought about my recent trials as a single father and as a divorcee. Then I thought about my toil to get where I am now, which as far as I am concerned, is as far from the top as the day I started. Then, I thought about losing my father and other family members and overcoming struggle after struggle after struggle. And, subsequently overcoming each struggle or facing those trials that remain until they crumble in an absolute battle of attrition.

Manny Pacquiao isn't retiring. He's a champion beyond the wildest dream of the jokesters and the mean jerks.

For one, he's risen to the top from absolute poverty in the Philippines, not the American style of hardship. Half of the population there lives on about $2 per day. Manny provided for his family working in construction and a bakery to provide after his father abandoned them. As he continued to work, the screwy Pacquiao discovered boxing. And he rose and rose and rose to the top over the top. The man is a champion in more weight classes than any champion in the history of boxing. Fact. "Yeah, yeah, yeah," some may heckle. But these are backstories I like to hear. The story of the struggle. The real story. Most tales aren't as epic as Manny's and there are so many quick—yet relevant—flashes in the historic pan, like Dewey Bozella. He spent 26 years in jail for a murder he didn't commit only to fulfill a dream of a single professional fight at 52. He won.

Perhaps that I why I am infatuated with boxing. The great commentator Jim Lampley recently said during a live broadcast, "Boxing is not a game ....you don't play boxing. You do this. You fight for your life." To me, boxing represents real life and always has. You fight. You get knocked down. You get up. Even if you lose, you can win as a boxer. That's why the aforementioned fight with Ward and Gatti was significant. I don't even remember the winner. It didn't matter. They weren't even champions, but they had lion hearts beating in them. A lot of people that were pointing fingers at Manny have already been unwittingly permanently knocked down into an existence where there's little risk, little reward.

This is what being a man is about and, to me, the rest, are likely well-dressed cowards.

So, nowadays when I stumble, I don't even trip. I just hope to be relevant enough to hear some commentary in the periphery.

PS: Manny's entire homeland will greet him with a hero's welcome, despite the incredible loss to Juan Manuel Márquez. Through all the adulation of Manny, I'm an even bigger Floyd Mayweather fan. But, champs recognize champs. Lots of people were unfamiliar on Saturday night.

Now, find the joke in that.

Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur is a father, son and the co-founder of AllHipHop.com. He's a cultural critic, pundit and trailblazer that has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), BET, TVOne, VH1, The E! Channel, MTV, The O’Reilly Factor, USA Today, The New York Times, New York’s Hot 97 FM and like a zillion other outlets.

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Comments

  • disqus_qZu7idraLh

    That was fantastic and I really appreciate it as aboxing and hiphop fan

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GSSPVMWNELXY2QSB5YKMQCSHXY Boy Mallari

    What a great analysis. I can proudly say…I am Manny Pacquiao too. And to the hecklers and what have you… the joke is on you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AOQQG2Z22K2VKQ466353JMCLFY Panfilo

    Manny Pacquiao will become an analogy or a metaphor from now on.
    When tough times hit you hard, rise-up, fight back & do a Pacquiao.

  • bugabee

    The collective gasp of the Filipino people and other fans from various races and ethnicities from all over the world momentarily sucked out the oxygen circulating on planet earth the moment Manny fell down, unmoving for almost half a minute; seemingly dead, so that while we were holding our national breath, the rest of humanity was also devoid of the precious commodity, and only when we emptied our lungs in a sigh of relief as soon as we realized that Manny was ok, the apparent defeat notwithstanding, did the rest of the world find its breathing rhythm again, released from seconds of an apnea onslaught.

    Manny Paquiao lost the fight, but he won clearly for being a Manny Pacquiao. We, including you, also won because we are part of him; are they?

  • ronnie

    awesome article.
    manny pacquiao….. a real class act.

  • manny_tyson82

    Very well written piece and in a sense it really captures the commonality of the sport and life itself. Champs do recognize champs in victory and in defeat. The better boxer won that night but both left the ring having made history and giving everything they had. At the end of the day that’s all you can ask for as a boxing fan.

  • ranie

    classic!

  • EMMET

    I was teary eyed while reading this article. Your writing is wonderful and humanely describing a man who doesn’t afraid to be in that arena.
    Thank you so much…

  • Truthteller

    Maybe if is Filipino fans weren’t so racist, then it would be easier to have sympathy for him. Maybe if he has been willing, like everyone else, to get drug tested, he would have had the fight that everyone wanted.

    People got swept away with the Manny hype, and this knockout is the PERFECT way to get it all back into perspective.

    Good thing.

    • http://twitter.com/tapeyman Anthony Ano (?)

      Correction, it’s the typical “Pactard” whose mainly racist. It’s these witless rabid pactards that felt empowered with every Pacquaio win and badmouthed everyone of any race (including a Filipino like myself) who did not agree with them. It’s useless to talk sense with a pactard on the internet as I have tried countless times. While I feel bad that Pacquaio lost in a brutal knockout, somehow it feels good to know that these pactards are now getting a taste of their own medicine for a change.

      • bugabee

        You and truthteller are absolutely correct. The image of the Filipino community is being tarnished by the antics of some unthinking pactards. We are all looked upon as rowdy, obnoxious lot, and the truth is that the defeat of Pacquiao is considered a spite toward us due to our (pactards’) attitude, which is a shame because although there are lots of us who are decent and rational, we all are now being unwillingly identified, too, as part of this nonsensical online fan tit for tat against others.

    • Truithierteller

      Maybe if is black fans weren’t so racist, then it would be easier to have
      sympathy for him. Maybe if he has been willing, like everyone else, to just fight and not create obstacles, he would have had the fight that everyone wanted.

      People got swept away with the Floyd hype, and him being imprisoned is the PERFECT way to get it all back into perspective.

      Good thing.

  • pinoy

    Respect

  • shabsnet

    defeat is hard to swallow especiall when you’re on the very top of the world. But i know Manny can recover from this defeat, he did it all his life. Time heals all wounds, in His time. Great artilcle to read. After i saw manny’s devastating loss, i felt the same way as you, i felt my own immortality, my own struggles in life. That everything happens for a reason. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • genrev Shekinah

    There is only one Pacquiao… And we should be thankful experiencing his life and his fights it’s once in a lifetime experience. So thankful to this man for giving us good example to follow.

  • shabsnet

    correction:typo—mortality (not immortality)..

  • hamer

    nice..errr,great…..

  • mel saison

    a man. a metaphor. a life. i am manny pacquiao.

  • Beingfair

    The Mex are racists!Filipinos react,,,but that’s all.A mex came to me today to tell me about the loss but I never did come to a Mex when their own boxers were losing,,,Never turn your back against a Mexican!

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