After a painful defeat against Yordenis Ugás, now Manny pacquiao faces a battle, perhaps tougher, more dangerous and more significant: he faces electorally the current president of the Philippines, Rodrigo duterte, in his dream of ruling his country.
Everything began to unravel on the night of August 21 by an unexpected Cuban rival and defector who gave him a clinical lesson with counterattack from the left-handed guard.
Yordenis Ugás, the new world champion of the questioned AMB, and a rising figure in the welterweight division claimed his place in history. And it did so by putting a competitive version of the Pacman, but degraded in the end.
Ugas (27-5-0, 12 KO’s), 35 years old, could do nothing for the rest of his career and be immortalized by this milestone by beating the best fighter of the 21st century.
The Cuban proved that he was not an ordinary man. And like his rival, facing oppression in his native country against a tyranny made him a resilient person, sensitive to the causes of social resistance for the freedoms of his people.
His victory has a particular symbolism with the popular insurrection of #SOSCuba, derived from what its members consider is a criminal management of the pandemic on the island, with a weak president in the person of Miguel Diaz-Canel, who lives in the shadow of Castro.
Ugas it encouraged hope for a change in Cuba, even if it was only for an instant. But at the same time it exposed a reality to the eyes of the public and the mind of Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao, the politician
PacquiaoThe 42-year-old, like Ali, carried the weight of sport globally for the past two decades.
Unlike ‘The Greatest’, he never stood out from the agenda of civil action and as a defender of human rights. Manny he concentrated more on popular, non-controversial humanitarian causes.
The fight of Manny pacquiao He goes from the ring to politics in the Philippines with the dream of becoming president. First, as a local deputy of the social democratic wing (2010-2016); and since 2016, as a conservative senator. Add here his brief stint as the national leader of the Philippine Democratic Party-Laban (PDF, center-left).
For his ‘kababayans’ (compatriots) a fall of Pacquiao in the ring it will always be painful. But perhaps right now, it is one of the least problems for the island nation in the deep Pacific.
It is a poor nation, ravaged by an official war against organized crime, corruption and the disorderly handling of the pandemic, with a recent explosive outbreak of Covid-19 cases linked to the Delta variant.
In front is Rodrigo duterte, the populist-nationalist president who seeks to extend his term one more term by placing his daughter Sara duterte in the official candidacy and himself as vice president in the formula of the powerful alliance Faction for Change, created by his probable successor.
In the middle is Pacquiao, his old political ally whom he removed from the leadership of the PDF a couple of months ago. This, because the eight-time world champion, in an attempt to create an electoral platform and win sympathy, began to separate from his platform before the presidential elections in 2022.
Pacquiao’s obstacles to the presidency
Pacquiao he assumed the position of president of PDP-Laban under an interim condition in 2020. It was the same year in which he decided not to fight, citing reasons of sanitary control over the pandemic in the United States and the Philippines.
In early 2021 an internal rift within the party opened when Pacquiao criticized the policy of Duterte regarding the South China Sea dispute. Manny It noted that the response against China’s claims of its claim in the area was poor.
Duterte, also president of PDP-Laban, responded to criticism from Pacquiao and he was offended by a statement by the senator that his administration was more corrupt than his predecessors. As if that weren’t enough, at the same time Pacquiao also came into conflict with the vice president of PPD-Laban, Alfonso Cusi.
Derived from this, on July 17, 2021, in the middle of the division, in a meeting he attended Duterte, Cusi he was elected as the sole leader of the party.
With Pacquiao out of the party, now Duterte controls this organism. And with it, he dominates the race for the presidency of the Philippines using the boxer as a focus of attention to gain followers and undermine the broad popularity of the legislator / boxer among the electorate.
The strategy seems to pay off. Nine months after the election, his daughter, Sara Duterte, it leads the preferences with 28%, according to figures from polling agencies.
Pacquiao was left out of the visibility that it gave him to appear next to a man as populist as Duterte, And now, practically expelled from the official party, he is a distant sixth among the leading contenders to become president of the Philippines.
Until the last analyzed cut (June 2021), Pacquiao he marked only 8% of the preferences to become president of the Philippines. That is, three points less than in the previous cut in March.
With these two setbacks, the defeat against Ugas And his fall as leader of the PDP-Labam, will it be the end of Pacquiao as a boxer and as a politician?
If the latest SWS poll is true, this is the new average
– Ian🇵🇭🐧🐓🐟 (@AJ_Ian_Cones) August 30, 2021
Nothing to prove
There are numerous signs that indicate if a boxer is no longer the fighter he used to be in the ring.
The most common is to see a degradation of reflexes, which manifests itself in two ways: simply, receiving more hits and not hitting as many.
Another tell-tale is the legs and feet that don’t move as easily as a boxer once did.
These signs were obvious in Pacquiao during his loss to Ugás at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He only hit 16% of all his shots, while the economic Ugas instead he landed 59% of his power shots. Both percentages were the worst for Pacquiao in a fight analyzed by CompuBox.
But perhaps the most striking warning was the look of perpetual horror on his wife’s face, Jinkee pacquiao, in the first row at ringside. From her seat she seemed to know almost immediately what her husband surely came to realize in the ring: that the Pacman no longer exists.
But that won’t stop Pacquiao easier to get away from the sweet science, which defined you from the age of 16. Announcing his retirement, and sticking with it, is the hardest part of the boxing odyssey for almost every fighter.
Matt christie, the editor-in-chief of the century-old magazine Boxing Newshe noted in his most recent editorial.
“Do not doubt for a second how truly unbearable it is to admit that you can no longer do what you like to do; That one thing that used to happen so naturally, is gone. It will never come back. Not for him to compete at the level he’s used to. That can wreak havoc on the psyche of boxers. ”
In this sense, and taking into account the conditions, where Ugas was designated as a replacement for Errol spence ten days before the fight, his mind could play a series of dirty tricks on him. It could trick you into believing the late opponent switch. That, along with his 25-month inactivity, were the real reasons why he performed so poorly.
“Words cannot express how proud I am of the man you are,” he posted. Jinkee on Instagram the night of August 21, in the dressing room after the defeat against the Cuban.
“I am proud to be your wife. You mean the world to me and to all of our children. We love you so, so much. We, his family, have seen how much you have worked, sacrificed and given of yourself, sweat, blood and tears from the beginning when you dreamed of becoming world champion ”.
With that expression, Pacquiao has reached the peak of his career.
He achieved what really matters in life: transcending.
Hopefully you keep your head up, you have nothing left to prove.