by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world right now. Period.
If there were any doubts that he isn’t the pound-forpound best, according to Ring Magazine, just watch a replay of the David Diaz match on HBO this Thursday and Saturday night.
Pacquiao drilled and destroyed Diaz with determined will. He showed excellent hand speed and power from both hands.
It was like a cat playing with a ball of yarn. He pounced on him. He jabbed Diaz left and right. And at the night after nine merciless rounds, Pacquiao unraveled Diaz to a piece of string lying on the floor.
“I gave him an A+ for his performance,” said Trainer Freddie Roach. “I’ve never given anybody that kind of grade ever in my life.”
That’s saying a lot since Roach has trained the likes of former champions Mike Tyson, Michael Moore, James Toney and Johnny Tapia.
However, the most impressive part of Pacquiao’s performance was not his annihilating win over Diaz but what he did afterwards that will speak volumes.
It happened only for a second.
After Pacquiao finally put the striking left blow that dropped Diaz to the canvas. And after referee Vic Drakulich immediately signaled off the fight, Pacquiao tried to help his fallen comrade off the ground.
As a beaten and bruised Diaz lay on the canvas with his arms raised as if he was on his own deathbed, Pacquiao bent down with both arms and tried to help the 32-year-old up.
Pacquiao didn’t thump his chest immediately, climb the corner ropes and celebrate his win or was carried off with arms triumphant
That would wait.
Rather he made the classiest gesture – one of goodwill and good sportsmanship.
“My first concern was for Diaz,” said Pacquiao. “I was praying he was all right.”
I stood in my seat along the media row confounded. It’s the type of gesture that doesn’t hit you right away until you think about it.
In an age of showmanship and “I’m better than you” or “show me the money” attitude especially in sports, Pacquiao defied logic when he tried to help up Diaz. When he actually cared more about his opponent than his own triumphant win.
It was genuine a gesture. One that I hope will reverberate in the community.
For the past several years, Filipinos have looked up to Pacquiao.
Their way of life has revolved around his boxing matches. Crime doesn’t occur during Pacquiao fights.
They shadow boxed in front of the TV when he fought.
When he won, the Filipino people won. When he lost, they’d feel the pain.
There’s a saying that real winners are those who know how to persevere and behave with dignity whether they win or lose.
The small gesture showed Pacquiao’s complete respect towards Diaz.
It was a heroic move. It was an act of class. It was an act of being a Good Samaritan. It was an act of good sportsmanship.