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Pacquiao, the good, the bad and the ugly

Manny PacquiaoBy Babatis Banda: Manny Pacquiao is undeniably an icon on the international arena. For years, he has given boxing fans thrilling fights and sacrificed blood, sweat and pain doing so. As a human being, he has led somewhat an exemplary life, not withstanding his fair share of short comings.

Over all, he has been a rallying point of a nation, a flag carrying icon and an inspiration to many in a country so poverty stricken. He proved that with hard work, one can lift himself up from the masses to the elite. Even with a humble education, Pacquiao is now a congressman perceived to be driven not by hunger for wealth or power, but by the love of his people to free them from the pangs of hunger, disease, corruption and injustice so rife in the country.

There isn’t a single shred of doubt that Pacquiao is hard working. Early in his career, Pacquiao fought his way and proved that he was not just an average fighter, but was outstanding in the ring. He was fortunate enough to work with some of the best trainers in Roach and Ariza, a renowned conditioning coach and a promoter in Arum, a well-known promoter for his, sometimes cunning and dividing approach to business. At this point, his career catapulted sky high. Pacquiao’s fights against Oscar Dela hoya, Miguel Cotto and Magarito were his career defining fights that brought him into fame.

The darker side of Pacquiao has been his failure and refusal to lead by example, to take RBT to prove against allegations and insinuations of impropriety, especially in the sport marred by use of illegal substances. This, in my view puts to question the achievements, some which are in themselves a good cause to question how clean Pacquiao could really have been at some point in his career. Not to sound so accusing, the recent shut-out win by Marquez over Pacquiao brought about blatant accusations of Marquez having been on some illegal substance, by mare virtue of association with a coach previously linked to PEDs despite Marquez having come out clean in the regular tests. The insistence from some quarters that Marquez was on PEDs makes me wonder why the same quarters get offended when similar questions are asked against Pacquiao.

The really ugly part about Pacquiao is not that he lost against Marquez. It is how he lost. When an Icon of his stature is reduced, at least in the ring, to the level of a nonentity, it is really difficult for those that believe in you to accept it. Anything no matter how absurd, as long as it provides some soothing is welcome. In this case, the accusation of PED use against Marquez is welcome and the continued attack on Mayweather is a breather and safety valve to release pressure. In my understanding, there is no amount of beating of Marquez in their 5th bout will ever avenge the humiliation and the sadness that echoed around the world that night.

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