For Manny Pacquiao, retiring, as of this writing, is not an option. This developed even immediately after his recent devastating loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. He, being the Maharlikan icon, has not settled nor conceived a delight in addressing the audience out of that coldest night of December 8 last year. His vision to rise again may have just brought some arguments. And he has not suffered from modesty, however hurting it must have been, but sees a better narrative just after his fall reverberates in the boxing world and beyond.
Consider this: Pacquiao has just become a symbolic potency of the soul of inspiration. To many, Pacquiao may have been dispossessed, disempowered and victimized by the forces of circumstances that intimidate and bear his test beyond his control. And to a few, his two minutes of unconsciousness on that 20' x 20' canvas before the sold-out venue jampacked mostly of Mexicans, may have just given him a form of cultural adrenaline that gives every Maharlikan and others the courage to fight back, to reclaim and to refine what one believes to be a true affirmation, recognition and indeed restoration in the cultural sun of aspiration.
Status post fight, it’s unclear as to whether Marguez remained unsettled. Pacquiao wanted a rematch. Marquez closed his victorious night looking forward to spend with his family. But one thing was left unspoken: None of these two great men had reserved the right to pull back the feisty signature authority of their respective fighting spirits in the future. Just before Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV and over the past 8 ½ years, they traded punches in 36 rounds. Their first bout in 2004 scored a draw: Marquez caught cold as he was knocked down three times by Pacquiao. In the same event, Pacquiao was dominant in most rounds. But the final score only proved to be a controversial decision that outraged both camps. In their rematch billed “Unfinished Business” in 2008, Marquez landed the most punches throughout the fight at a higher percentage, but the decisive factor proved to be a third-round knockdown, wherein Marquez was floored by Pacquiao’s left hook. Then, Pacquiao won the WBC Super Featherweight and The Ring Super Featherweight titles, making him the first Filipino and Asian to become a four-division world champion - a fighter-in-fact who won world titles in four different weight divisions. In the same event’s post fight conference in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Pacquiao ruled out a third clash with Marquez, saying, "I don't think so. This business is over.“ Pacquiao did not want a rematch because he aimed to move up to the lightweight division to challenge David Díaz, the reigning WBC Lightweight title holder at that time. In 2011, Marquez lost to Pacquiao via majority decision by garnering 114–114, 115–113 & 116–112 from scorecards of three judges. Thousands were disappointed of the announcement. Most writers believed Marquez was robbed of a decision by judges. However, ringside punch stats showed Pacquiao landing more strikes, 176 to 138, and landing more power punches, 117 to 100.
Not to be outdone, Pacquiao may have a lot to learn from Lenox Lewis and many other fighters who got knocked out cold - unconscious - sometime in their boxing careers. For Lewis, it was one of a par with Pacquiao’s dilemma. In April 22, 2001, though sluggish on his advances, Lewis seemed to be winning the fight over Hashim Rahman until one flush to his chin took him down to the canvas in round 5. Rahman won by knockout, taking up the heavyweight titles from the World Boxing Council, International Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation. Seven months later, Lewis bounced back in a rematch and knocked out Rahman in round 5, taking back the three titles he lost. Since then, Lewis won consecutively by knockout from his last two fights against Mike Tyson in round 8 and Vitali Klitschko in round 6, respectively in 2002 and 2003. And this time, Pacquiao seized the experience of Lewis as his own idealist, to fight back Marquez. His first knockout loss to Rustico Torrecampo in 1996 was nothing less a reminiscing, resounding yet refreshing wake up call subconciously emboldening his recent loss, notwithstanding his technical knockout loss to Medgoen Singsurat in 1999, both of which in round 3.
For now, it seems all right. Pacquiao keeps telling himself the most positive way, bordering to self-deception. What is sure is that he just enters the enchanted world of revenge. Meanwhile, what he needs: collective thoughts of self-reenforcement. Still, he paints a portrait of a steely fighter who pursues the enemy without flinching, despite his near-death loss. The truth is more complex, and in many ways, less nearly reassuring. One thing sure, he is not a robotic machine. The choices he rather faces are brutally difficult. The shocking episode is not a stone giant, at least to him. He is sure to tell the public he is not struggling over in his mind to come back to the ring of madness. The people around him embattle and his mother Dionisia disagrees. They invoke safety for Pacquiao on one hand and better living of what Pacquiao seeks for on the other. His discomfort with being jammed into his own wishes may have just broaden his perspective. Nothing is veering off. He could be brusque and tactless with his intimations, though he would just as easily break into boyish giggles when something amused him. But the pressure has not abate, however. He believes that he needs to make an unequivocal statement - not to brush back his people, boxing fans and sycophants calling to avenge his loss.
Pacquiao has now the reality of the moment and would rather not dwell in the abstract. Yes, he needs to fight Marquez, to improve his world once more. His chances remain 50-50. But, not to go after Marquez the fifth time might just be the most devastating threat to his psyche he would ever perceive, at least for now. That's the warrior in him: the true royal blood of the Maharlikan.
But for Ruel Rendal, this writer's Facebook friend and a Pacquiao fan: "Pacquio has already won his greatest battle. He had fought a good fight. He defeated the enemy: SELF with the cravings of worldly fame. He will be forever victorious with the Lord Almighty."
Whatever the boxing world would say, Pacquiao's loss to Marquez may just be too good for Top Rank Promotion and might just be perfect for Pacquiao's brighter tomorrow - all for his spiritual transformation and a victorious comeback in the ring of madness. Pacquiao said: “We’ll rise again!”