Gods do not fall by hatred alone: Why Manny Pacquiao cannot win on love
Prizefighting is not a morality play; in fact, it is a lot like politics whereby the immoral are paid. There are good people in the sport, in and out of the ring, but some of the greatest practitioners of a brutal endeavor are men who would probably fit right in on the cellblock. Given all of the information, it would be easy to hate some of the most glorious of gladiators, even going as far back to the days of Hercules. Being skilled at punching another man more than he punches you is an art but you need not be a true believer in a higher power nor be a man to ascend to immortality. You can be a God among men without being a very good man and often rationalize rooting for two men we would never have in our own homes. When fights become morality plays, this is due to casting and when one of the combatants openly professes hate for his foe, there still are no guarantees. Historically open disdain is a crap shoot that depends on the surrounding factors and all-out hate as an initial premise must be supported by the ability to harness the enough fire to do something ice-cold. If none of the factors creates synergy, then hatred is a deep well filled with nonrenewable energy – no better than what regular people often draw upon in neighborhood bars.
To hate is to have formerly loved and you cannot allow the hatred of others to sustain you in wars of attrition.
Carmen Basilio had to have been giddy enough about Sugar Ray Robinson (a serial wife-beater) to walk up and introduce himself; that initial negative contact gave him impetus. Only when snubbed in front of his spouse did “The Onion Farmer” ferment a malignant enmity for the Sugar Man; before that, he was a 5’6 welterweight abiding by the orthodoxy that size matters. Joe Frazier was a friend to Muhammad Ali during his suspension only to be called a gorilla and Uncle Tom, when the champion’s circumstances brightened. Roberto Duran was simply put one of those ravenous, malevolent characters you find in boxing; his hatred for Ray Leonard was simply a part of his overall psychology – he hated everybody he fought. Joe Louis felt some kind of way about Max Schmeling whipping his ass in the first fight and Adolf Hitler certainly did not improve the legendary champion’s mood. Being the a black heavyweight champion did not sit well with Joe and he hated the idea that Schmeling had his number. Without context or agency, hatred can backfire, especially when facing someone with the composure and powers of compartmentalization of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Freddie Roach is now pushing the meme that his fighter, Manny Pacquiao has a personal hatred for Mayweather and it may not be the way to go. Identifying Mayweather as a bad person is plugging into a common perception but sociopathic guys often flourish in hostile environments like politics and boxing. Galvanizing a public sentiment is stressful and can create an onus for a fighter already facing tangible quandaries of size and reach. Without an effective, strategic host, like the slick little jab/feint Frazier showed Ali before dropping him with a trademark left hook, Pacquiao will be stuck with nothing but elevated blood pressure.
Courtesy of millions of strangers who do not have to fight Floyd, some people get their shots in on comment sections…or (allegedly) fire them off at people like me.
Hopefully Roach is gloating because he has finally seen the feverish, whirling dervish he “used to” train, pre-Christianity – and that is a good thing. However, part of Manny’s former magnetism was that he seemed to be a happy vandal in the ring where he would take guys apart with an almost childlike enthusiasm. It was even comical at how effortlessly he would pounce on guys who didn’t see themselves being attacked with such ferocity – he was audacious but not hateful. You knew there was something dark behind his eyes but it was not loathsome; it was more like ambition and hunger – the stuff of most children in places like General Santos. Mayweather depends on hatred and he courts it because he (like Ali) knows a mad fighter is prone to making mistakes and 90% of Mayweather’s offense will manifest from mistakes. The difficulties of this negotiation wore so heavily on executives at Top Rank Promotions that they would rather quit than experience it again but Manny should not be a sponge for the negative emotions of others. Floyd is at peace with the derision of the fans because he knows carrying the hatred of the public is a weight his opponents will have to bear. How can you be loose when you have been co-opted by millions in the so-called “decent” society to punish the dissident? Manny Pacquiao needs to be relaxed and carefree in that ring on May 2 because none of the constituencies who are “with” him vicariously will help him if his calves tighten up.
In fact, most people would abandon him – just ask Gerry Cooney how it feels.
Even the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler allowed his hatred of Sugar Ray Leonard to make him do things that went against his baseline personality. Sugar Ray was able to bribe him (taking advantage of financial envy) to get concessions (huge ring, 12 rounds) he needed to pull off the magic trick (or deception) of defeating the great champion. Ray knew the guy hated him and he manipulated him in and out of the ring leaving the “Marvelous One” scarred by the whole process. On fight night, Floyd Mayweather is anything but mad or hateful because he has already filled his need for validation during the ridiculous six-year negotiation. On fight night, he can slow the process down and focus like a sniper or jewel thief is required to do, like a pocket quarterback who needs all of his faculties to quickly process a ton of information. If the opponent is worrying about what he may have done and to whom, a week before the fight, he is not processing the right information – and Floyd knows it. Manny Pacquiao’s strength is not that he’s an avenger of some moral code; his strength is that he is about to blow through your ass simply because…you are there. At his best, he is a force of nature and hurricanes have no feelings. They simply destroy solidly built structures the very same way they destroy shitty ones.
Remember, Pacquiao, a former drinker, gambler and womanizer, had his two most devastating performances against a cross dresser/fornicator and a guy who was caught on video doing coke.
If you are a man of “faith,” you understand that people (abusers) like Mayweather ultimately find a way of being “dealt with” one way or another – it is not your job. All megalomaniacs seem to have a karmic shelf life and one should not mix his role of public servant with his other role as dangerous pugilist. Manny should not allow himself to be cast as “The One” to bring Floyd to justice because justice is slippery, just like Floyd’s fighting style. Righteous indignation is an endurance sport and there is no place for it in boxing, if you really do not “know” the person you are fighting. Hell, Boxing is camouflaging no more active scumbags than any other industry; the only difference is our biggest one happens to be the richest and the loudest.
Nevada State Athletic Commissions Chairperson Pat Lundvall is no fool and she understands that it takes a myriad of awful human beings to bring One Billion Dollars of economy to the Vegas strip in a week. Boxing is the one place in which moral relativism is not hidden and you cannot say that about the leagues that pander to corporations who enslave people to make the products we adore. I don’t want a ferocious man shackled with the sensibilities of people who “pick and choose” atrocities, based on whether they generate political power and retweets. Freddie Roach sharing details of Floyd’s disgusting behavior with women is proof that a combustible relationship is being manufactured externally – but Manny would be better off using Floyd’s racist Ustream rant from 2012 as organic (real) inspiration.
Manny would get more fuel out of being obligated to his people than American special interests groups.
Boxing is the only endeavor that encourages open tribalism without apology to the moral police and it should stay that way. Instead of casting Mayweather as cancer, Manny should be intent on showing why General Douglass MacArthur once stated that all he needed was “10,000 Filipino warriors to take over the world.” There’s a reason the national anthem segment of a pay-per-main-event is a great time to take a bathroom break because it may take up to 30 minutes acknowledging everyone’s racial pride. If boxing can freely traffic in racial animus, then every bout between men with strong ethnic followings can technically be viewed as mutual hate crimes. There is a reason Asians of all groups have merged behind Manny just as blacks have picked Mayweather because the athletes and artists who move us do so because they remind us of ourselves.
Ali and Pacquiao are similar because all races love them but when Ali felt culturally “slighted,” he could be extremely confrontational with opponents and the media. Pacquiao is the greatest fighter in the history of the Philippines and Mayweather slurred him with the ugliest of Asian stereotypes – so if he wants to make an example of Floyd, I am sure somewhere up there, Joe Frazier can understand. Hating Floyd for his conduct and speaking at all about praying with him after the fight is affording him empathy and certain violent undertakings require little. Manny may speak of God but there is little empathy in what he has been gifted to do, just as Jesus took no shorts with the moneychangers. Floyd is hard to penetrate because he lacks the messianic gene Ali had, the willingness to sacrifice himself, so Manny must realize his job is not to lend himself to “us” but to be the victimizer. To beat him, you have to put a moratorium on feelings because feelings (aka thinking) is a recipe for disaster with Floyd Mayweather – so it’s better to empty Manny’s head of all “things”…even God.
Folks, God is in the boxing racket like politicians are in the people business.
Religion works like any other drug; it can fill all perceived holes in the psyche and give one a purposeful discipline – or it can lead you down a path of irrational dependence. Christ has yet to interfere with a fight based on the good guy/bad guy narrative we create because an all-knowing being would understand that there are two men who come way short of divinity in that ring. Pacquiao, a man with his own shortcomings, should keep his journey (with Christ) to himself because May 2 requires the worst, most inhumane version of “self” he can still muster. To hell with special interest groups who are trained to “make the personal political” because none of this will help Manny Pacquiao achieve a violent objective on May 2. Bad guys do win in boxing because boxing is one of the few venues in which they can express themselves openly without violating the sanctity of social contract. Floyd Mayweather, despite his human failing, is a “God” in the squared circle and to defeat him is to be Lucifer, the first entity to scowl in the face of “perfection” and say, “It ain’t necessarily so.” The contrarian is often the one who pulls off the upset and you cannot be interested in being nice when toppling orthodoxy.
Inside the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr. does everything right, so what you believe about him (outside of the ring) will not help you destroy a lifetime of muscle memory. Eddie Futch (Freddie Roach’s mentor) once said of “Money” that he does things in the ring unseen in generations, so why would Roach abandon the primordial for synthetic emotion? Eddie Futch was the trainer to oversee the first losses to Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr. and Evander Holyfield and he did not accomplish the great feat by pointing out the inconsistencies in each man’s private life. In order to beat a God, Manny Pacquiao must become one himself, all-powerful, infallible and, most of all, arbitrary. Floyd can often be capricious (see media day) and autocratic in the ring and you can’t be filled with “feelings” to take that sense of control away from him. Only indifference is poison to narcissists.
Taking away dislike and hatred is to randomly take away something he is counting and measuring in the early rounds. Floyd has whipped many asses that loved God but what he has not been faced with is an unpredictable, ectothermic, guerrilla fighter with a sadistic grin on his face. A smile that says, “I’m always a happy person and you do not bother me enough to take me out of my unmitigated serenity. Not only am I happy but I could actually be anywhere tonight – I could be here with you or enjoying a nice dessert somewhere but since we’re both here why don’t I just beat your ass from pillar to post to pass time?”
Then you can give God the Glory.