“Take each of these ancestors of ours as an example, and you will realize that no one who puts his trust in the Lord will ever lack strength.” 1 Maccabees 2:61
To the average Filipino like me, the event was very sweet because it did not only added a feather to Pacquiao’s (and to every Filipino’s) cap in the world’s stage, but it was also inspiring because of the big physical difference between the fighters. Pacquiao came into the ring 17 lbs lighter, 4 inches shorter in height, and 6 inches shorter in reach. Therefore, in all physical aspects of the game of boxing, Pacquiao was at the disadvantage. From this statistics alone, an outsider of boxing wouldn’t bet his house on Manny Pacquiao.
But in the eyes of every adoring fan, Manny Pacquiao is not just statistics. Like David, God gifted Manny with a sling – the ability to move quickly, and punch hard. With these two attributes alone, if you look at the rear view mirror of Manny’s boxing career, it is littered with the bloodied heads of his fallen foes rolling on both sides of the road! However, other boxers can do this, too, yet they are not as great. So what makes Manny Pacquiao very special?
Get your pen and write this on your wall: (1) Humility (2) The desire to make his fans happy (3) World-class dedication to his craft (4) Courage rooted on his deep faith in God. We might be unable to emulate Manny’s punch and agility, but surely we can apply his other four attributes to improve our own life.
All of us are gifted by God. But our gift is like a car with an empty tank if we will not use this to give value to others as well as to ourselves. Manny gives value to boxing fans by perfecting his craft, and by painting an electrifyingly exciting art on the canvass of the ring that will remain etched in the memory of the viewers long after the gate was closed or the TV was turned off.
As a young boy, Manny peddled cigarettes in the street, and had to stop his studies because of poverty. Now, he is a multi-millionaire, and probably, the most popular Filipino all over the world. How does Manny keep himself from self-destructing like most celebrities do after receiving a great amount fame and fortune? By planting his feet firmly on the ground. And how he did that? Manny knows that all his blessings come from God, not from himself, so he has no reason to boast.
Finally, I’ve never seen a boxer kneel down on the ring to pray before every fight. Manny does this solemnly even when the whole world is watching him. He is not ashame of his faith and this god. And rarely do I see a fighter that doesn’t bad-mouth his opponent; instead, he shows them respect. It is now common knowledge to boxing fans that he does his talking inside the ring…with his fists…to the tune of a thousand and more punches. Ouch!!!
Manny is not a saint, though; he is not perfect, like all of us. But he reminded us that despite our failings, adversities and chaos in life, we can remain beautiful human beings – talented, courageous, honorable, compassionate, achieving, and above all, God-fearing. After all, we are all fighting our own battles in the ring called life against invisible and powerful enemies. But as Manny showed us, it doesn’t matter as long as we have a big God on our side.