Tag Archives: Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao-Marquez V? Count on it.

After the Pacquiao Bradley debacle, I stayed true to my word. Not another pay-per-view dollar from me. Pacquiao Marquez IV to me seemed like Manny’s “Groundhog Day.” Haven’t we been through that before?

But indeed, there was a new scene we didn’t expect.

Manny Pacquiao lying face down on the canvas.

It’s an image we rarely saw–until Saturday.

He stayed down a long time.

But within minutes our champion was back up, on his feet. Just like the Frank Sinatra song, “That’s Life.”

In one of the post-fight interviews in the ring, almost immediately after (the one I saw was with ESPN) Pacquiao was asked the simple question: Was he ready for another?

Pacquiao didn’t flinch. “Why not,” said the Filipino champion. “My job is to fight.”

And with those words, I think I finally saw the truth.

I don’t think he was punch-drunk. Mind you, I was one of those who for the last three Pacquiao fights have suggested that Manny retire with his brains intact.  What can I say, I’m an ardent fan of boxing, but I value a man’s brains.

I also recognized the charismatic power of Pacquiao and saw him four years ago as someone who could rally the Philippines and maybe even spark the country with a massive dose of the pride that comes from being a world champion.

Isn’t that a bigger challenge than fisting a boastful Floyd Mayweather into submission?

Beyond the ring, there’s real life. Manny Pacquiao could be the leader of the Philippines.

That idea first came to me when I noticed the power of Manny’s charisma rising at the same time another politician was acting like an international rock star—Barack Obama.

Based on charisma and appeal, I even called him the Philippines’ Obama.

That may have been my dream. And maybe it was Manny’s too, for a brief second, as he did run and win a congressional seat in his Philippine district.

But I don’t think it’s Manny’s dream after his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao-Marquez IV has totally changed my view.

Manny Pacquiao is not the savior of Philippine politics. He is not the statesman, the diplomat, the political leader. He’s not the future of Philippine politics or governance.

He’s a fighter. He’s a guy who works in  satin underwear with his name on it.

And hearing him talk from the weigh-in to the post-fight interviews has made me see that all too clearly.

It’s like the knockout blow from Juan Manuel Marquez knocked fans like me to their senses.

I also think it knocked a little reality into Pacquiao’s life.

Pac-man’s passion, his life, and his future is in the ring. Not in the Philippine legislature. Not in Malacanang.

It’s not in movies, nor music, either.

Pacquiao said it himself, repeatedly, even after the most vicious punishment any human could take in a sanctioned athletic event.

“I’m a fighter,” he told ESPN repeatedly. “It’s my job. I’m willing to fight.”

What did we expect after that fight? A cowering Manny? No way.

“I never expected that punch,” Manny said about the right-hand smash from Marquez that Manny walked into squarely in the 6th round. “He got me (with) a good one.”

And then the question came again. Do you want another fight, a rematch?

“Why not?” he answered.

The questioner came back, “Do you want it?”

“Of course,” Manny said. And then he repeated himself, “I’m a fighter. My job is to fight.”

It would have been nice had Manny broken into a bit of diplomatic rhetoric.  A line about “what a great champion Marquez is…” would have worked there, too. Marquez, in his post-fight interview talked about celebrating the victory for Mexicans around the world. Maybe Manny could have responded with a message to all the global Filipinos out there, that despite the defeat, they should all keep their chins up. Surely, there should have been some kind of message to those Filipinos ravaged by the recent typhoon in Mindinao. Now that was a knockout blow.

At the weigh-in, even HBO’s Larry Merchant threw Pacquiao  a softball on the typhoon to give Manny a chance to enlarge his scope beyond boxing.

Manny showed his concern, but it just wasn’t that  rhetorical flourish akin to a jab-straight-hook combo. That’s not who Manny is. But he can do wonders in the ring.

Even after the knockout blow, in his interview Manny knew his business. His true calling.

And you could sense he wanted another round.

Reports indicate that the brutal blow from Marquez may have given Pacquiao a concussion.

But when you are a boxer, concussions are as natural as blood, sweat and spittle. Those punches aren’t love taps to the head.

It’s all part of the world in which Manny belongs and is paid well for being part of. Where else is he going to get a $26 million dollar pay day just for showing up to work. That’s dollars, not pesos. His pay-per-view share, undoubtedly in the millions, is all extra. (You can watch it free this Saturday on HBO).

So I will give up my crusade insisting that Manny quit to save his brains and take on the mantle of being the Philippines’ rock star political leader.

Manny’s role goes beyond politics. He’s above all that. People go from movies and TV to politics all the time. But boxing champions are different.

They are our mythical warriors, cultural heroes. Manny doesn’t need Malacanang. He’s already head datu to Filipinos everywhere. That’s enough burden for one man. He doesn’t need the pettiness of politics. Pacquiao leads from the ring. And when he’s done, he’ll take his role as national folk hero, buddy, and humanitarian. National spirit lifter.

He doesn’t have to be Joseph Estrada.

But why rush things.

Manny turns just 34 on Dec. 17th. He’ll have a good birthday. And I’m sure an even better Christmas.

And, besides, you heard him indicate, he’s not done.

He’s a fighter. So maybe for a change we’ll really see him train like his life depended on it. And dedicate himself to showing the world that the champion can get back up and answer the bell again.

That’s what Pacquiao-Marquez IV has spawned.

Forget Mayweather. Forget the others. The franchise is set and so is the need—for Pacquiao-Marquez V.

SCOTUS and Prop.8 ; Imagining a post-racial, post-same sex marriage debate world: the movie, “In the Family”; and Manny Pacquiao’s “Groundhog Day”

If you’re not sure what the Supreme Court is doing about gay marriage from all the different news reports,  then you need a time line.

Like the proverbial egg  passing through the snake, the issue is going through the process: In 2008, California narrowly passed a state amendment that banned same-sex marriage, but then a Federal court declared the ban unconstitutional. That ruling was subsequently upheld by an appeals court. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court simply said it would review the lower court’s decision.

Asian American same-sex marriage advocates saw it as a hopeful sign. API Equality-Northern California released this statement: “By granting a review now of the lower federal court’s ruling which held Proposition 8, California’s statewide constitutional ban on same sex marriage, to be unconstitutional, we hope that the U.S. Supreme will not uphold Proposition 8, but instead seek to affirm the lower federal courts’  ruling on this issue,” said Heidi Li, a California family law attorney and Steering Committee member of Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Northern California.

So the end is in sight of this snaky process. Maybe. We hope.

THE POST-RACIAL, POST-SAME SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE MOVIE, “IN THE FAMILY”

Those of you who remember me from my TV days in San Francisco, know that one of the things I did was act as resident film critic for the NBC affiliate (I was the one with the flower in the lapel, in between the convicted pedophile and the gal with the hat fetish).

I saw a lot of films in the ‘70s and 80s. Since then, I’ve been a lot more selective. But around the holidays, I always get the urge to see films (besides “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” for the umpteenth time) because this is truly the season when we are all prodded to the cinema right through Christmas.

But do you really want to flinch at another loud, crash’em up, blow’em up, spectacle in 1,2,3,or 4-D in the 8,14, or 16-plex?

I just saw the new Bond film and already find myself in need of a break. Slow food movement? I’m ready for the slow film movement.

Here’s my answer: “In the Family,” an independent film by Patrick Wang that some are calling a “masterpiece.” That may be a bit grand, but it is a fine antidote to the crashingly commercial. It opens this weekend, Dec. 7 at the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Camera Cinema in San Jose, and it’s definitely worth a look.

The film is a quiet tour-de-force. It’s absolutely one of the first post-racial, post-gay, post-hang-up movies I’ve seen ever. Hang up? That is to say it doesn’t get hung up on the obvious and because of that goes deeper. When do you recall seeing a film starring an Asian male, who is gay, in a conflict with his white family, over custody over a Caucasian child? And never once is there a mention of being Asian, or gay? Fish-out-of-water is a Hollywood convention and always played to the hilt. But here, the oddity of a Chinese American gay father in the South? Well, the movie just presumes it’s totally natural, like “Oh sure, there’s a gay interracial marriage and they’re raising a kid, and when the white father dies, the straight sister comes in to take the child.”

Oh, yeah. Like, you’ve seen these movies on Lifetime in your lifetime.

So are you ready for that?  In this movie, there’s nothing prurient or tawdry. When in a movie about gays is a kiss ever just a kiss? It is here. When is a movie with an Asian male in it just an excuse to show off some marital arts moves? All the time. But this movie is kung-fu free.

There’s also interesting things going on cinematically here. It’s an indy film so realism is a given, but this film shows off by disdaining the quick edit and letting the camera see and the actors act.  It seems like one long take after another. It is a long take. But by letting the camera go, the audience gets to see something amazing in the performance of the actors. They’re creating and letting us in on it. Cutaways? Sometimes. Mostly the camera is still and not moving, set on a wide shot and turned on. The viewer is allowed to see it all unfold as if watching a play (indeed Wang directed live theatre). Wang, an MIT grad naturally, shoots the movie in New York (Yonkers) but sets it in the South, (Martin,TN). And it’s totally believable.

So let’s review: here’s an Asian guy talking like a redneck, kissing his white husband, and raising a little white boy who calls him Daddy. With no karate chopping?

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

It doesn’t always work. In fact, you might feel like a fly in the wall who wants to move in for a closeup. Or land on someone’s nose instead of a backside.

But on the whole the movie works because it gets beyond the political rhetoric of race and gender, and marriage, and just looks at the human situation. There are even scenes that humanize the lawyers, which I actually found to be among the film’s best segments.

By the end, Patrick Wang playing Joey Williams makes perfect sense. It’s an Asian American story in a world where we simply exist. And may even be coincidentally gay, as if that matters. It’s the film after the culture clash. But even after some form of acceptance, there’s still conflict. And that’s where the movie reaches its peak.

Seeing the film reminded me of my days in Texas and Missouri where I spent the early days of my career. People thought I was Mexican and not Filipino. And then they were really confused when they heard my unaccented English and saw that I was dating their daughter.

If you want to imagine a post-racial future free of any race or gender B.S., or want to see a “Gaysian” portrayed in something other than the effeminate gal pal in chick flicks (those are the parts that used to go to Bronson Pinchot), then “In the Family” is a welcome sight.

Opening Dec.7 at the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Camera Cinema in San Jose.

 

“GROUNDHOG DAY” FOR MANNY PACQUIAO?

After losing the debacle known as the Timothy Bradley fight which was so unfair even I felt cheated, Manny Pacquiao has run out of options. The best he can do is repeat himself. And the guy is human, not a machine.

The Mayweather fight is the only thing left, and that’s not happening. So what’s a Filipino super-star pugilist to do? In keeping with this posts’ movie theme, call Marquez-Pacuiao 4, “Groundhog Day.”

Manny answers the bell and it’s Marquez. Again.

No.4.(Four, by the way, rhymes with “whore” if you haven’t noticed). And what are we doing by going to the well another time except for money? I mean, I guess Pac-man shouldn’t dignify Bradley’s “championship” by fighting for the crown that was stolen from him.

So what’s left? Marquez? Again?

If it’s all rigged anyway, let me watch it all a week later  when it’s free.  So, to pre-empt your question, I’m not watching the fight this week.

 I’ll be watching my “24” DVDs all weekend long when I’m not going to Christmas cookie parties.

Pacquiao has been a great champion, but he’s got other things on his mind. And now boxing is his J-O-B.

He’s 2-0-1 against Marquez, who some say beat Pacquiao in at least one of the previous fights. I saw them all. It was close. But Pacquiao deserved the edge. Now, I’m not sure. Both are older and Marquez may get the better of Manny finally. But so what?

Part of me says, who cares about championships and belts, let’s just see a good fight. Marquez and Pacquiao fits the bill. But the other part of me hates to see Manny expose himself to more of boxing’s brutality.

He’s got a future outside of the ring—if he can leave with his brains intact.

 

Affirmative action, Timothy Bradley,Jr., and the suckerpunch heard round the world

It’s funny what people have reacted to in my post-fight  post on the Pacquiao/Bradley fight on sfgate.com

I said that the outrageously bogus decision in favor of Bradley could have been “boxing’s affirmative action.”

I found the notion funny.

To me it’s as clear as “why did the chicken cross the road?”

But for those who don’t share my sense of humor, allow me to explain. 

Tim Bradley did not deserve to win.  The judges inexplicably gave him the fight. This is not good.

The standard anti-affirmative action stance is that affirmative action is often thought to benefit the undeserving.  Bradley certainly was undeserving.

If you didn’t get the joke, the joke was on you.

When I support affirmative action it is always about making sure the underserved and underrepresented get a fair chance. But recipients have to be qualified on the merits. They have to be truly deserving.  That’s always been the true intent of affirmative action.

By using the phrase in my boxing post, I was mocking the traditional sense of affirmative action used by anti-affirmative action folks.

How else could Bradley be given the championship? It wasn’t because of his great skill to punch air and miss Pacquiao. The stuff of champions? No.

Another reader suggested that I was anti-black and  showed I was OK with affirmative action for me, but not for thee.

Once again, my stand in favor of affirmative action in some people’s mind favors  blacks and Latinos and hurts Asian Americans. So any criticisim of me on that point makes no sense.

So now that’s cleared up, there’s still this small matter of who won that damn fight.

Glad to see other fighters like Andre Ward chime in that Bradley should give back the belt. That would be interesting.

Won’t happen.

With their bad decision, the judges are simply reminding us that this is part of the “joy” of boxing–the post-ring debate.

And it goes on because the absolute “truth” can’t really be had unless one fighter can’t answer the bell.

You want certainty, knock the guy out. Until then, if you’ve got eyes, you’ve got an opinion. Box on.

Those who prefer logic bring up Pacquaio’s last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and say Marquez should have won that.  They call the Bradley fight “karma.” B.S. The Marquez fights were actually close, and could have gone either way. 

The Pacquiao Bradley fight was not 115-113 close, and certainly not in Bradley’s favor.

In fact, many of the conspiracy theories out there now figure Arum needed to pump up Bradley’s credibility to keep his cash cow Pacquiao boxing until the guy everyone really wants to see Pacquiao fight –Floyd Mayweather, Jr.–gets out of jail. Do we really want to see a Pacquaio Marquez IV?  Or do we want to see “Manny’s Revenge”?  Arum has a need to keep things interesting. He owns a piece of all the boxers. Conflict of interest is just part of the professional game, which is as close to a monopoly as it gets. The state of boxing smells. And if it didn’t bother us enough before last weekend, maybe we just got used to the smell.

Still, some of us more interested in the sport of boxing try to keep the “sweet science” separate from boxing’s bitter, venal world that commingles high-stakes  business and gambling.

This weekend’s suckerpunch was our wake-up call. It can’t be done.

The only thing we can do is act as consumers. Pay-per-view? Not with my hard earned dough.

Also see my pre-fight column where I question if Pacquiao has the desire to fight any longer.  His post-fight demeanor has been very “Love they neighbor.”  Maybe religion is his calling. Or maybe he figures the “lost brain cell to earned dollar” ratio in boxing is still in his favor. He can roll in the cash until early dementia sets in. He can quit, stay healthy or fight me.

And I know he won’t fight me now,  because he knows I can beat him. 

I just need the right judges.

The Pacquiao-Bradley debacle: Boxing’s shame

You don’t really have to know boxing to understand that Timothy Bradley, Jr. did not win that fight against WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao.

If you were one of the millions who plunked down their hard-earned cash to watch a “fight,” you could see it with your own eyes. Bradley was handed the championship belt, as if it were a pre-scripted fantasy. Or maybe the New Wrestling.

Before the decision was handed, it was a decent enough show. Pacquiao, the more experienced champ landed more punches and completely outclassed the younger Bradley, who tried to keep up with Pacquiao, but rarely got to him. Bradley did get in some body punches, especially while holding Pacquiao, but there was nothing from Bradley that appeared to stagger or even pose a threat to Pacquiao.  Indeed, throughout the fight, Bradley’s trainer, by his use of the “F” word, seemed frustrated by his fighter’s inability to take the fight to Pacquiao.  Bradley threw a lot of punches, but he also missed a lot. Meanwhile, Pacquiao was able to land his straight left against Bradley that staggered him again and again.

In my most charitable assessment, I didn’t see Bradley win one round. Bradley did nothing to Pacquiao that was close to the pounding Pacquiao put on Bradley in the fourth and fifth rounds.

But the judges saw it differently and gave the fight to Bradley.

Maybe this was boxing’s “affirmative action.”

Athletic judging is after all, subjective. We  know this from watching Olympic skating judges from France.

There’s always the plausibility of an implausible result. Injustice happens.

Still, there are enough real injustices in the world to care about instead of this one, where Pacquiao reportedly got over $20 million for this fight to Bradley’s $5. (Nevermind what the judges might or might not get. All I can think of is the odds must have been so good on Bradley, and all the money bet on Pacquiao, that certain gambling interests just couldn’t resist a massive score.)

In a previous column on the fight, I had suggested that this be Manny Pacquiao’s last fight. Considering what boxing does to your brain, and with all the other interests Pacquiao has in politics, religion, and show business, leaving the ring now just sounded like a good exit strategy—before anyone gets hurt.

For Pacquiao’s sake, I wanted this fight to be his last. I just didn’t think it would be my last fight.

They’re already talking about Pacquiao Bradley II, to correct the injustice, and to, of course, enrich a few boxing promoters. (Ever wonder how Bob Arum has a piece of both fighters?  It makes his claim of being ashamed for the sport ring very, very  hollow.) 

Sorry, boxing.  As Roberto Duran would say,  “No mas.”

I’ll be back when the game gets a massive infusion of integrity.

Boxing as karaoke: Mosley’s puffed up face shows you can go through the motions against Manny Pacquiao in a lacklustre fight and still end up looking like dog crap

Anyone who ordered the pay-per-view  fight last Saturday between Manny Pacquiao and Sugar SHAME Mosley (my new nickname for the loser) would be correct in demanding your money back.

At least if you were in Vegas, you could have won your money back betting the fight. For the rest of us, we were taken in by the promoters.

You wanted a fight? For the masses of Filipinos throughout the world watching via satellite, what we saw could only be described as a glorified sparring contest at best, a fraud at worst.

It was like karaoke boxing. Not really boxing, but it sort of looked and sounded like it. And everyone was drunk and had a good time anyway, right? Not exactly.

For our money we all deserved to see a real genuine battle between two men who actually punch at each other. We don’t watch boxing to see how sportsmanlike the boxers are in their etiquette.  We watch to see two brave opponents beat each other to the pulp. But in this title bout, no less, we had Pacquiao and Mosley practically hugging and winking at each other, love-tapping their gloves at the start and finish of each round.

Now I see why many people have turned to MMA. There’s no pussyfooting  there. And if there was, you could really tell.

In boxing, all the worse evasive things were on display in Saturday’s  championship fight. Mosley didn’t land many punches because he didn’t throw many. He was on the run most of the fight. The ring isn’t the place to do your roadwork.  

Even M.P., our hero, seemed to go at it in cruise control. When Pacquiao knocked down  Mosley in the 3rd round, one expected to see  Pacman  go for the kill. Instead, Pacquiao seemed to let Mosley continue the charade. M.P surely didn’t fight like his life depended on it. 

Pacquiao did seem to wake up when Mosley stepped on his foot then pushed him down.  Counted as a knockdown, the unfairness of it all seemed to inspire Pacquiao to step up the assault.  A matter of honor, I guess. But by then, he was so far ahead, there was just no point.

And that is the problem for both fighters. For Mosley, who should do everyone a favor and go off and retire, there was no point in this fight, other than to collect his massive pay day.

For Pacquiao,  it’s getting to be the same thing. There is no one left to fight except Floyd Mayweather, who continues to make unreasonable demands that make booking the “dream fight” more and more unlikely.

Mayweather may have wanted to look at how Pacquiao handled a seemingly stronger, larger opponent (as if he didn’t have ample evidence). But there was something about the aging Mosley that seemed to make many people doubt Pacquiao.  The pay-per-view seemed particularly biased toward Mosley, as if this would be the comeuppance for Pacquiao, the smaller man.

By the end, sportscaster James Brown, who is related by marriage to Filipina Loida Lewis, was apologizing for having bought into the Mosley hype. He should be. Another doubter of Filipino prowess fights the dust.

I imagine even Mayweather was looking at the fight as a barometer of how well he’d do against Pacquaio.  Mayweather had beaten Mosley recently, but not as easy as the Pacman did.

Seeing Mosley, his battered face puffed up and swollen,  say that he was surprised by Pacquiao’s power probably didn’t make Mayweather call his agent and say, “Let’s book this fight.”

I’ve always said Pacquiao should quit while he still has his head.  It’s no different now. He has so much to give to the world beyond yellow boxing gloves. Let’s hope he quits now.  

After Mosley, I don’t care to see any more. Readers will note that as an avid Pacquiao follower I was mum on this fight prior to Saturday. It just didn’t seem worth talking about.  Now the fight’s  real value emerges.

It could be Pacquiao’s last.

If it is, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Manny has nothing else to prove in the ring.

For the sport, he should quit now.

But for his accountant, his bank statement, and his entire entourage, the beat goes on.

Obama meets the high-tech kings (and a queen); but my favorite Obama meeting this week was the one with Manny Pacquiao

In the twitterverse came the comment that people were lining up last night in Woodside awaiting President Obama. Surely, they must have shipped in from Redwood City and such.

People in Woodside don’t line up for much.  In fact, the line comes to them.

So it was quite natural for the president to fly in for dinner with the nation’s high-tech giants on their home turf Thursday.

Whenever you accept an invite to Woodside, you never know how much it ultimately is going to mean to you.  A million? A billion?

I hope it worked out for the president sake, for the country’s sake, last night.

The U.S. could use a few trillion.

There’s something about Obama when he hits the road. You forget about all the process stuff in Washington that’s bogging him down and you see him in his natural mode of rock-star schmoozer.

***

Earlier this week, I commented in the Philippine media on another Obama meeting, the one with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao in DC. It was far more important a meeting than you think.

About two years ago, when he was just thinking about politics and a run for Congress, I called the boxer Manny Pacquiao the Philippines’ Obama.

At the time, Obama was in campaign mode, attracting large  crowds world-wide. He was like a rock-star representing hope and change. But I’ve seen them both in action, and Pacquiao was all that in boxing trunks.

I didn’t exactly call him the Great Brown Hope, but I sure wasn’t joking when I called him the Philippines’ Obama.
There’s just something about Pacquiao that suggests his ultimate reach will be far beyond the ring.

My assessment had less to do with Pacquiao as Obama’s intellectual equal (I don’t know how many rounds Pacquiao could last at Harvard Law School, for example), and everything to do with the sheer charismatic leadership prowess of the Pac-man.

Is there any doubt that Pacquiao could go toe to toe with anyone on that score?

So when the two men—Pacquiao and Obama—finally met this week in the White House’s Oval Office, I thought it was far more significant than any meeting Obama has had with a Philippine leader during his administration. (You don’t think that red-dress photo op with Arroyo a few years back was worth a darn, do you?)

That makes it both funny and sad, that in these times, the current president of the Philippines would barely make a headline were he to drop in on Obama. But the pound-for-for-pound champ? He caused a traffic accident just crossing Pennsylvania Ave.

Obama even had a few gifts and a promise for the Pac-Man this week, reportedly giving Pacquiao  three grocery bags full of light blue M&M’s with the presidential seal (breakfast of champions?), a watch with the same august logo,  and a promise of visiting the Philippines in the future.

Why not? When Obama goes to Oahu, he’s just a relative short hop to Manila.

Would he do that for PNoy just to say hello?

Doubt it.

But the Philippine president shouldn’t feel bad. I doubt Obama would make a trip to Manila for anyone but Pacquiao.

That’s why this shouldn’t be dismissed as a mere cute meet just to promote an upcoming fight. This is how relationships are forged. And in politics, relationships are everything. Those who focus on wonky policy matters and dismiss Pacquiao as a mere bobbing-head-jock-figure are missing the potential of Pacquiao’s real political potential. You can always surround yourself with the right policy folks, which will be a critical thing for Pacquiao.

Far more important is leadership, and that has nothing to do with policy nor ideology. It’s  all about charisma and the people.

If Egypt had a Pacquiao, that uprising would have been over in a week. But when all the opposition could do was trot out an ElBaradei?  Come on.

Leadership and charisma count for a lot more than you think.

You might have noticed it last year when PNoy trounced a relatively lackluster field, and even Joseph Estrada got votes. When you have the people abdicating to the political class, the oligarchs start recycling themselves and wearing yellow T-shirts.

That leaves the future wide open for new politico to excite the public.  And who among them has as legitimate claim to being man of the people besides the people’s champ himself?

Pacquiao still has sometime before a run for the presidency. He’s doing his time in the woodshed but it shouldn’t be for long. In the meantime, he’s going to have to stop fighting, period, no matter how good the money. He’s got a whole country riding on his shoulders.

Just keep in mind, if all you see is a guy in boxing trunks, you don’t understand the real power of  Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao needs an exit strategy, so here’s one: The Manny come home, farewell fight and karaoke fest in the RP

His face was “bruised and plump.” He needed help to get on his feet. His fingers were swollen so badly he couldn’t sign autographs.

That was a Philippine newspaper reporter’s description of Manny Pacquiao, the day after he won.

You should have seen the loser.

Antonio Margarito was in the hospital, his face swollen with welts the size of Texas, his right eye shut and barely in place in his broken eye-socket bone.

This is why Manny Pacquiao needs to stop now.

On Saturday, the PPP (pound-per-pound) King of Boxing, won his 8th title in 8 weight divisions. What more is there to do?

He can wait for the winner of this weekend’s Martinez/Williams fight and go after the middleweight crown. Hey, 9 titles in 9 weight classes!  But then why not 10, or 12?

That’s the problem. Manny is so good, it’s not a fair fight unless he handicaps himself so severely. Like a thoroughbred forced to carry more weight, Manny has to do something that’s not as obvious as tying his left hand behind his back.  It’s necessary because he is so good he would destroy others his size or smaller. The only challenge is to keep fighting what I call “up-hill.” Fight bigger,stronger, but not necessarily better boxers.

Margarito was 17 pounds heavier and 5-6 inches taller than Pacquiao.  That’s not Mount Everest, but even Pacquiao admitted after the fight that Margarito had enough mass to absorb all of the Pacman’s punches.

Fighting bigger guys means knockouts will be fewer, fights will be longer, and the war of attrition will ultimately prevail.

Pacquiao’s speed enabled him to punch Margarito 411 times. The battering should have been obvious to the referee and to Margarito’s trainer who let the punishment go on.

And since this is boxing, Pacquiao got his share, 135 punches came from the stronger Margarito.

Punches start adding up and take their toll.  Inside and outside the ring.

By stopping now,  the Pacman saves his energies for his day job in the Philippine Congress, and his real passion in life—leadership.

Notice I said leadership, which is not politics, necessarily. Yes, congress is all about politics, but Manny’s gift goes beyond that. He’s got the most important trait for a leader: Charisma. People follow and listen. This is something that can be developed, hopefully, for positive purposes. But it is Manny’s true gift. His fists may have brought him fame, but his real gift is public service.

Like Obama did in 2008, there’s something about Pacquiao that inspires hope.

Perhaps it’s the back story that creates the foundation for a mythic life. The hardscrabble upbringing, the tale of a street kid who turns to boxing to help feed his family.  Boxing discovered and nurtured him  to the point where he is the most intriguing fighter in the sport.

So why stop there?

Because there’s  life after boxing, and to preserve it, there’s no better way than to end his pugilistic phase at the top.

Pacquiao has established his boxing legacy firmly. His championship track is like watching one of those charts of the evolution of man. Eight weight classes? The only one who could repeat what he’s done is another flyweight with the same expansive heart and spirit. And that’s not likely to happen—ever.

Margarito wasn’t even the best challenger. But he was bigger, by a lot. And if there were any doubters left about Pacquiao, seeing the champ destroy a bigger man was enough to etch the legend in stone.

But boxing is as much about greed as it is about legacy.  Manny’s problem here is coming up with a suitable exit strategy for all.

People keep mentioning Floyd Mayweather, as if that’s the ultimate. It is not. But how do you top that match up?

A Pacquiao farewell in the Philippines.

One big blowout. The “Thrilla In Manila” with a real Filipino champ eight times over, and it doesn’t matter anymore if it’s a lesser fighter. It’s the last-pay-day. The Finale. People would pay to see a finale.  Train for real in Baguio, then take a week to travel and train in different parts of the country, ending in one big blow out in the big city.

Think of what it would do for tourism. And balikbayans would go for balikboxing.

It’s the “Manny go home, farewell tour and karaoke.” The Datu goes out on top.

All you have to see is an image of an addled Muhammad Ali in a wheelchair to know it’s the right thing to