By Will Leitch
Even when their lives are often anything but, boxers are afforded an undeniable dignity. At least in our popular culture. Our admiration for boxers is as profound as our fear of them, and we treat them accordingly. Jake LaMotta, some dumb palooka from the Bronx, is given a deeply respectful, almost regal treatment by the most serious filmmaker of our time. Muhammad Ali is the closest thing we have to an American saint. Heck, Mike Tyson: Even when you’re playing along with him on Jimmy Kimmel, you do it out of a certain terror; part of the excitement of watching Tyson goof off is the sense that he could explode and start decking everybody in sight any second. The great punchline of The Hangoverisn’t “In the Air Tonight;” it’s when, after Tyson floors Alan with one punch, Stu can’t help but be impressed: He’s still got it, man. They are granted warrior status, for life.
And then there is Manny Pacquiao.
couldn’t believe that i had not heard / read of michael christian martinez before sochi 2014. my bad? and/or media’s? whatever, that was quite a two-night high, watching this 17-year old competing with the world’s best and being dazzled by his talent and passion and tenacity.
on facebook it was good that above the babel of high hopes for a gold (sana matisod ang japan at canada, haha), there was the voice of prof. neil garcia, once a rollerskater and skateboarder himself, who has been following the olympic event “since forever,” and who placed it all in perspective in this thread of observations.
just to make the cut for the free skate–that’s achievement enough (his real olympics will be in 2018, when he will hopefully have a quad or quads, and his other triples will be more secure, his line more graceful and powerful).
but what an olympics this has been! first, there was that obviously scripted but still shocking withdrawal by plushenko (that had the bulk of the audience–russians, naturally–heading for the exit); then there was jeremy abbott’s horrendous fall (that visibly knocked the wind out of him) and grim determination to finish his skate anyway (reassembling his program from scratch, almost, well enough to still rack up some points); then there was yuzuru’s incredible score, followed closely enough by patrick’s (and the two of them are way out ahead of the rest of the finalists); then there was the almost pitifully empty arena (less than a quarter of the seats were occupied); then there were all these botched quads, popped triples, and falls, all resulting in unseemly and unbecomingly low scores for most of the competitors… the pertinent ‘first’ of course is the entry and qualification of our own lone teenage olympian, who has certainly done us all proud. a memorable evening it has been, after all. here’s to a respectable and clean free skate for mcm tomorrow!
mcm himself admitted in the post-skate interview that his combination jumps are his waterloo. without them naman, he can’t go very far in the free skate. if i were him, i’d go for a double (rather than a triple) toe tacked at the end of a triple lutz and a triple loop and that second triple axel. pwede na yun. don’t na try for a triple triple. basta clean, para memorable na rin. and his ina bauer, which is great, along with the biellmann: female moves, and among the guys only he can do them–he should highlight them as transitions.
he doesn’t have the mature line and edges yet. clearly visible, this youthfulness, when seen side by side the higher-scoring skaters that came after him. he’ll gain all of that with more training. i really hope he gets a sponsor–maybe some rich tycoon, fil or filam–who will put him up in michigan or somewhere else in the us, and basically allow him the opportunity to get better at his craft.
his nebelhorn and earlier competitions saw him holding his positions longer. it’s the nerves–they obviously got to him, even if only a little.
who wrote this report? several triple axles? he did just one triple aXEL; a downgraded triple lutz combo (ended up doubling the toe loop), a triple loop and a cantilever (a kind of inside-edge spread eagle, with knees bent, back leaning). his best (because unique elements) were in the transitions (the ina bauer, for example) and the spins (the i-spin and the biellmann). hay. it’s time we brush up on the elements of this very complicated sport.
yes, and it’s time that government and the tycoons give the young man all the support he clearly deserves. we have in michael a national treasure, so young and already skating, strutting, on the world stage, doing the nation proud. and those 10 minutes when he was number one of six, that was a glimpse of gold that augurs great for his future.
We skaters arrive wounded, limping, the aches—
beneath the skin you will see the terrible
brutality of what we must do to our bodies.
Ice, we know, is cold, a sharp pain of brittle
light—but ice is hard, it will not give,
it bites back, before melting sardonically.
I leap, torque and flow, my mind whispers,
flight is lifting the weight of the world,
And there are no white rose petals to land upon.
Here in these humid islands, the mall owner
is kind to build a rink, but he thinks the ice is smooth
as glass, slick, even. He would not know
the bubbles and fissures of the uneasy ice,
the physics of crystals, and the way the ankles
twist and contort to hold a smooth line—
come closer, turn off the muzak, listen
to the crunch and yelp of the ice breaking
away against the steel’s bite, and hear the pop
of my bones and the wheeze of all tendons
before the leap—hear the deep grunt
of anticipation as I lift, the body already
alert to the blow of my landing—and only
for that small moment, of clothes flapping,
in the miracle of the second turn; only
then, when the dizzying of lights spinning,
colors hurled at me, in the second of lift
and the yank downwards, only then
can you call my body smiling—then comes
the brute ache, of landing, splintering ice,
ankle howling, such painful, painful beauty.
what a show. short and sweet and stunning. mabuhay si manny pacquiao. sana makarami pa siya. sana pagyamanin pa niya ang galing niya sa boksing. sana i-test pa niya ang limits of his unique body-mind-spirit now that he’s peaking and seemingly at the height of his powers. sana saka na lang ang pulitika.
i hate boxing actually, too violent for me, can’t stand to see two people hurting each other physically, no matter what the provocation or the rationale. it is enough that we hurt each other mentally, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, that is, with our minds and hearts and words.
but manny pacquiao on the world stage has been impossible to ignore, he’s one of us, and, yes, he’s doing a great job as boxing champ and ambassador of goodwill. what spoils it for me lang is the political agenda, parlaying the popularity into political power. already the system has got him by the balls.
When his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank introduces Manny Pacquiao as “a future president of the Philippines,” is this an insult to the Filipino people? Are we to be regarded as a people who will vote for anyone with a little fame and with popularity? Are our elections nothing more than popularity contests?
Why should we feel insulted when Arum is only showing us what we really are? An electorate of fools who vote according to superficials but expect the highest order of public service. Why expect anything more than a handsome face when we vote the actor based on his image as he portrays himself on the silver screen? Why expect anything more from someone who buys our votes with his advertisements and even actual cash at the voting booth?
A congressman observed even before Pacquiao made mincemeat of the feared and highly regarded Ricky Hatton that Manny would be a cinch to be elected into Congress. In fact, if he were to run to represent athletes and boxers in our multifarious party list system wherein everything and everyone except gays are allowed representation, a Pacquiao Party would probably have the maximum allowable representation. I predict that it will have more votes than any other Party List.
Manny Pacquiao for President? Why not? As far as what we can expect of a Pacquiao presidency (ten or more years from now when he has become of age) Manny is probably more God-fearing and loves the Pinoy more than anyone else we have ever tried as president.
What is insulting from the Arum introduction of Manny Pacquiao is that Bob regards the rest of the Pinoys as being nothing more than adoring boxing fans who would take a Muhammad Ali or an Oscar de la Hoya or the latest unqualifiedly best boxer (for now) of all time who is today Manny Pacquiao as if they were God to be given the highest place in our history and present society.
Sadly for the Philippines, Bob Arum has hit the right button. Whatis our voting record? Whom have we been picking as our leaders if not the rich and the famous amongst us? And, for now, who is richer and more famous than Manny Pacquiao?
he’ll be even richer and more famous when he again enters the ring, maybe in october, against whoever, good for him. pero sana sana sana naman ay magaw’an ng paraan ni pacquiao at ng gma 7 at solar sports na mapanood ng mas nakararaming pinoy ang laban in real-time. say ni john nery sa inquirer:
The decision by the giant GMA network and long-timeblocktimer Solar Sports to delay the telecast of Manny Pacquiao’s Las Vegas fights to accommodate innumerable ads is creating a second class of TV viewers: those who cannot afford to watch pay-per-view TV or do not wish or know how to follow a boxing match on AM radio. Think about it: several million Filipinos saw or heard Ricky Hatton fall a third and final time just before noon last Sunday. The rest of the nation saw the perfectly leveraged left hook which knocked Hatton out even before he hit the canvas when it was already almost three in the afternoon.
I’ve read a statement from GMA, placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of Solar Sports. While it is true that Solar earns through the advertising, GMA cannot be entirely blameless; it sets the rate which Solar must pay.
Pacquiao’s many fans deserve to watch his fights live. Solar can make it happen by dramatically raising its ad rates and drastically reducing the number of advertisers. A company that picks up the entire tab-a San Miguel, say, or a PLDT, ponying up about as much as it does for an Olympic sponsorship-will reap a nation’s gratitude.
as for martin nievera’s rendition of lupang hinirang, may pagka-OA ang delivery but it was, uh, interesting, even if it sounded to me a mite flat on that final sustained note.