By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THREE prestigious world sporting events were held last Sunday (July 15). And being an avid sports fan, I managed to watch on TV the much-awaited Matthysse-Pacquiao world title fight, the final of the FIFA Russia World Cup 2018 and 2018 Wimbledon championships.
Let’s forget the Le Tour de France for now because it’s still a long way to go before we get to know the ‘king’ of this year’s 21-day road saga. The tour just finished the 12th stage, as of this writing, July 19.
Meanwhile, the talk of the town until now especially among us Filipinos is still the resounding technical knockout victory of our boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao over the defending champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina to seize the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight tiara. His fourth in the 147-pounds limit. Boxing enthusiasts saw how the fighting lawmaker Pacman scored two knockdowns in the first five rounds and eventually finished the flamboyant Argentine fighter in the seventh to the delight of the Filipino crowd, here and abroad, particularly, the Pinoys at the ringside of Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur. Many are convinced they saw a rejuvenated Pacman at 39, citing his ups and downs in the last nine years, having lost four times. The first was to Timothy Bradley by split decision but Pacman won the second and third meeting, then to Juan Manuel Marquez via devastating knockout, then by a unanimous decision to Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and a unanimous verdict too to Australian Jeff Horn last year. His last knockout victim was the Puerto Rican Miguel Coto in 2009.
Critics say the fight was a farce, a setup, believing that the knockout artist Matthysse, who carded 36 stoppages in his 39 wins, did not brawl the way he used to. In short, they think it was a fixed match. But Mathysses’s supporters were amenable that their ward lost and attributed it to the dehydration of their ward due to weight problem prior to the weigh-in (a day before the battle). It was enough to cause his weak showing inside the ring.
After the tussle, Pacman said he is planning to fight one more time this year, probably in November, and two or three more times before he finally hangs up his gloves. First on his card is former light welterweight champ and his former sparring partner the UK-born Amir Khan. Second is the present World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight titleholder American Terence Crawford. Crawford was the conqueror of Jeff Horn who defeated Pacman. Third on his list is the newly crowned World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight king Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine in a catch-weight of 142 pounds. But unfortunately, Lomachenko turned down the offer saying that he will only meet Pacman inside the ring at 135 pounds, his legit weight, the lightweight division. Remember, Lomachenko is the conqueror of Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters who both defeated Filipino former world champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. in the super featherweight division.
Pacman is not ruling out a rematch with his vanquisher Mayweather, that is if Mayweather will come out from his retirement. And he might, if perhaps the prize is right. Mayweather, he is not nicknamed “Money” for nothing.
And now the big question is: Do you think Pacman is, indeed, rejuvenated? Yes, if he is able to defeat the prominent names he mentioned.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” MATTHEW 10: 33
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