Pacquiao Top Five: 5. tassles; 4. he sings, in a band, in tagalog; 3. he believes in god(s); 2. he rains down punches that slice so buttery; 1. his smile

dear readers,

imagine the wbo welterweight title fight last night. the crowd is dipped in electric blue light. boxing ring, fully lit, red ropes, white mat. the judges are ancient and white. the referee has character, and he’s brown. there are two fighters; ones brown, and ones black. the people who make the most money off this: white.

but there’s more to the Pacquiao vs. Clottey fight than that. it went 12 rounds, but it was a win from the beginning for Manny Pacquiao. watch as the fighters ascend through the crowd on their way to the ring.  Pacquiao and his entourage move with the unison of a team that sings together. Clottey and his people stride with an awareness of the camera, akon tinged dance moves for the camera, bravado.

the Phillipino boxer threw two for the Ghanian boxer’s one.  round after round Pacquiao rains punches, jabs and body shots mainly. Clottey is on defense, elbows in and high, he’s more on jabs and hooks. when he’s punching.

Clottey got scared. you could see it in his body, his face, hear it in the meanness of his managers goadings.  and that threw him off balance.

Pacquiao’s boxing stance is nearly pyramidal.  bulldozers couldn’t knock this man over.

both fighter’s calves were like solid slabs of rock. muscle bound, they were both gleaming with sweat.  no bloody faces, unlike the rocky balboa style opening game.

but there’s even more to the Pacquiao vs. Clottey fight than that.

there was the Ghanian national anthem, the Phillipino national anthem, and the American national anthem. and there was the way race played out as we all watched the game, in our homes, our bars, our otb joints.

i watched the game from brooklyn, new york, on hbo paperview, at a neighbor’s spot, blunts and hennessey in high rotation, cigarattes too (blech). about ten men, two of them have girls, it was one of the girls place matter of fact, she cooked too, salad, lasagna, garlic bread. i was the only non-african diasporic person there. we played bones and chess and generally had a nice time, till the headline match came on and then it that was the unequivocal focus.

they were in their early and mid 40’s, brooklyn bred, gods and earths type, and one thing i noticed was that only one dude gave Pacquiao any respect. i heard him talk about Pacquiao’s heart.

a true leader is a true leader, no matter the race. or the gender.  and Pacquiao’s spiritually smiling spirit coming down that gangplank of image expectation not to mention the dallas stadium packed to the hilt, was indeed a breath of fresh masculine leadership air.

12 rounds resolutely is sheer physical strength and clear spiritual will. both boxers spoke to cameras right after stepping out of the ring. but the dudes i was watching the game with, they only stopped talking and listened when Clottey spoke. i observed a racial stratification in that moment. and i thought to myself of how we are all conditioned, and how it is our propensity for unity which scares them the most.

but there’s even more to the Pacquiao vs. Clottey fight than that.

thank you for reading.

roopa singh

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4 thoughts on “Pacquiao Top Five: 5. tassles; 4. he sings, in a band, in tagalog; 3. he believes in god(s); 2. he rains down punches that slice so buttery; 1. his smile

  1. nic says:

    as with everything else you put out into the universe, this is written profoundly, yet simply enough for me to get it, wanna keep it…and apply it to my world.

  2. Tina B says:

    Thanks for covering this story Ms. Roopa! I watched the fight too, at my dad’s house full of family sitting on the floor, on the couch, at the table eating L&L bbq chicken and rice. My people rollin deep flowin in Bikol, our tongue (that I cram to understand). Everything Pacman does makes us proud to be Filipino. His demeanor, his comraderie, even in the midst of throwing punches, makes us wanna act right, too. He shows us a different way to fight. And you’re right, there’s even more to it than that. It’s effed up that non-Filipinos gotta diss like that and that their vision is clouded by layers of whatever stereotype and misconception they got fed about Asians or Pacific Islanders or Filipino men. But fo real fo real, I can tell you that most Filipinos could care less about haters like that right now. We have a new underdog who’s puttin us on the map and it’s changing the game. The last image of Filipinos in the international mind was Marcos, feel me?

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