Monday, February 23, 2015

It’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s BirthdayToday!

Question: What do Steve Jobs and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has in common?  Answer: They share the same birthday.

But since and our very own Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), the only boxer in history to win world titles in 8 weight divisions, and Mayweather,  the self-proclaimed TBE (The Bea.., err, Best Ever!) will meet May 2, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden, let’s set aside Steve Jobs for a while. Today, February 24, Floyd Mayweather, Jr just turned 38 but with great anticipation, he is aiming for his 48th win for his immaculate boxing record, just one win shy of breaking the 49-0 win-loss record of the legendary Rocky Marciano.

The clash of the two welterweights is expected to break financial records at pay per view, global sales and gate receipts. This fight is expected to be the highest grossing in history, at $400 million. Mayweather’s estimated income will be $120 million for the fight, with Pacquiao taking home about $80 million.

Said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman:“May 2 will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. I know the fighters and their teams will be primed to excel and we plan to work closely with everyone involved to deliver the same level of performance from a broadcast perspective.” The fight is expected to be the rarest of generation-defining boxing events, along with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987, Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier I in 1971, and the most historically significant boxing event ever, Joe Louis-Max Schmeling II in 1938 when America and Germany are at the verge of war.

Pacquiao and Mayweather are the first two fighters in history to hold crowns in 4 divisions. If Pacquaio wins, he will become the first man in history to hold crowns in 5 weight classes. This fight is expected to be the highest grossing in history, at $400 million.

We, the Filipino boxing fans should thank Manny and Floyd, Jr. for making this fight happen that started with their brief meeting during a Miami Heat game at American Airlines Arena on Jan. 27. We have clamored for it for more than 5 years. I am excited seeing both Jimmy Lennon, Jr. and Michael Buffer uproar their respective catchphrase “It’s show time!” and “Let’s get ready to rumble!” standing on the same boxing ring at the same night. Let us just hope that both boxers would be safe and stay away from accident on their respective training camps or it would be a mega-spoiler. The Las Vegas boxing community,- the bookmakers, the judges and the whole Nevada State Athletic Association, will always stand by Mayweather. In order to disappoint those odds, Congressmanny must have a convincing win, a KO if possible. So the tall order for Manny is how to convincingly beat an American demigod of boxing in an American turf!

Today marks what would have been, as I have stated above, 60th birthday of Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are two of the richest boxers in their respective country but we, not only “Money” and “Pacman”, but for all of us, should learn from Steve Jobs:  Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful... that’s what matters to me!”

What a "jab" from Jobs….


Monday, February 16, 2015

Priests on Trial: Gomburza

The notorious Dámaso Verdolagas or plainly Padre Dámaso in José Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere,” became the epitome of priestly abuses and hypocrisy to this very day. No doubt, there are still a lot of Dámasos in our midst. We hate the modern-day Damasos but  have forgotten the martyrdom of three secular priests in Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora, known collectively as Gomburza.

Today is the 143rd anniversary of the February 17, 1872 execution of Gomburza as per records of the Spanish government, but according to the La Solidaridad and French newsman Edmund Plauchut, it took place on February 16, 1872. Philippine history has it that the aftermath of the so-called Cavite mutiny was a mass purging of people who have been suspected of having led or supported it. On the day the news of the uprising reached the central government in Manila, the Governor-General immediately caused the arrest of prominent priests and civilians as conspirators of the mutiny, among them, the Gomburza.  

In an article written by Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo, he said that during the trial, the principal witness was a certain Francisco Saldua who testified that the mutiny was a conspiracy, and confessed that he was a part of it. He wished to be pardoned in exchange for his testimony. He narrated on the trial that for three times he delivered messages to Fr. Jacinto Zamora, who had then gone to Burgos’ abode. Saldua said that the conspirators met at the home of certain Lorenzana.

Some military witnesses testified that they were told that should the uprising succeed, the president of the republic would be Fr. Burgos, parish priest of the Manila Cathedral but all were just hearsay. A fellow priest, Fray Norvel, testified that the Creoles were inciting the people to rise up in arms against Spain, and that he saw Burgos passing subversive pamphlets. Lies and unfounded information subdued the trial.

Fr. Burgos’ landlady testified as a sort of character witness. She vouched that Fr. Burgos was a peaceful man and with no liking for gossip. She said that Fr. Burgos would even advise the insurgents to seek reforms without spilling of blood or the recourse to violent means. He was the most distinguished among the three, having earned two doctorates one in theology and another in canon law.   He was a prolific writer and was connected with the Manila Cathedral, a good swordsman and boxer.  Burgos got into a quarrel more than once with his superior, Archbishop of Manila Gregorio Martinez, regarding the right of native secular clergy over those newly-arrived priests from Spain.

After eight hours of trial, according to Ocampo, the Council of War condemned to die in the garrote the three priests Don Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora. Padre Burgos’ last words are as follows:"But I haven't committed any crime!" Reportedly one of the friars holding him down hissed, "Even Christ was innocent!" It was only then, it is said, when Padre Burgos freely accepted his death.

There are present-day idiots like Francisco Saldua who, in order to save their neck, point at fellow human being with his far-fetched accusations.

There are also the likes of Fray Norvel who has the bad feeling and implicate and accuse his brother priests.

And there are still Archbishop Martinezes among us who favor friars (priests) from other places than the homegrown clergy.

They are, too, the Padre Dámasos of our time…