Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Independence Day and the Two Mannys

Question of the week:“How would we celebrate Independence Day if Manny Pacquiao is beaten by American Timothy Bradley come Sunday?” To be honest, I do not know. All I know is who ever win the fight, Bob Arum’s purse will be overloaded after the bout. Arum is promoting both Pacquiao and Bradley, remember? If Pacman is defeated, all what Arum need is to schedule a re-match and will be again promoting both boxers. A convincing win of Bradley (knock on wood!) would be the first chance for Arum to make a star out of the American boxer but the latter have to arrange bigger and more exciting fight for the former or win convincingly in the re-match. To have a name, Bradley have to KO Manny and for Manny, he have to convince the boxing gods all over the world that they still need him, that the “industry” still want him for he is still bankable. Bradley already counting chicks and wildly predicting, or dreaming, that he’ll win the match and already scheduled a rematch on November 10 this year. But let us all hope that Manny really knows best and Arum knows a little.

No matter how “Arumatic” it is, prepare for the “Filipino-American war” on Sunday!

In case you do not know, Western boxing was introduced to Filipinos by three known Americans: Frank Churchill and the Tait brothers, Stewart and Eddie. Eddie Tait, a boxer himself, reached the shores of Manila in 1902, less than four years after the Philippines had declared independence from Spain. In an article in the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT) published in December 10, 1926 entitled "Tacoma Connected With Orient Ring," said that Churchill, the Taits and their other companions erected a boxing stadium in Avenida Rizal in 1917. This became the regular venue of weekly boxing shows in town.

Before that, the Olympic Club of Manila was born in 1909 and an array of Filipino and American boxers were trained there like Sailor Charlie Grande, Billy Walters, Soldier Kearns, Frank Logan, Louie Albert, Charlie Pitts, and our very own Battling Sanchez, Francisco Flores, Paul Gyn, Silvino Jamito, and Dencio Cabanela. No matter how we avoid it, history shows that we cannot achieve victory and independence without foreign hands or say, fists. Cuban Castro needs an Argentinian Che raising his clenched fists shouting “Patria O Muerte!” and drive out Americans in Cuba and they completely achieved freedom. In the Philippines, we allowed foreigners to dominate us as a nation, not only in flesh but also our soul that is why nationalist Filipinos, then and now, says that our independence is bogus or incomplete for we still experience foreign domination, politically and economically.

Indeed, more than a hundred years ago, Filipinos and Americans who were compatriots of Pacquiao and Freddie Roach, became important figures in Philippine boxing history. Even the story of first great Filipino boxer Pacho Villa could attest to that. I would like to mention time and again that, contrary to San Jose’s claim in their coffee table book published in the occasion of its 100th Founding Anniversary that Pacquiao’s first professional fight happened there, official records show that it actually happened in Sablayan in 1995 where Pacquiao won over Enting “Titing” Ignacio via KO.

Speaking of Pacquiao-Bradley, SB Member Hon. Manuel P. Tadeo is expected once again to offer a free live telecast of the fight direct from Las Vegas on Sunday at the Sablayan Astrodome. I’ll try to be there and cheer for Congressmanny, of course. Incidentally, the back-to-back Best Coach Awardee of the Mayor Ed Gadiano Basketball Cup is presently pushing for the creation of Sports Development Council in our town. He is so proud of Sablayan youths who are into sports specially those who made it to the Palarong Pambansa in Pangasinan this year. Aside from its scenic places or destinations like the Apo Reef, Pandan Island and Mt. Iglit, sports also attract tourists if properly packaged and promoted.

And I wish Tadeo (and his namesake Pacquiao) all the luck…

(Photo from Manny Tadeo's FB Account)

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