Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fair Play: Three Pounds and the Church of Pacfreaks

THREE pounds, for most, is a miniscule number. Heck it could be the difference pre-and post-Noche Buena, or pre-and post a couple bottles of beer.

Three pounds is nothing, or for some fans I know, it’s the weight difference between Round 1 of a Pacquiao fight and after the decision is read, at least for the conservative eaters.

But for guys like Z Gorres and AJ Banal, three pounds is a career move. And moving up from super flyweight to bantamweight (115 to 118) means starting from zero.

They are no Manny Pacquiaos, the boxer who ran roughshod through the divisions (130, to 135 to 147) in a single year. So for Gorres and Banal, a move just three pounds up means becoming a top superfly to a who-are-you bantamweight, part of the reason why ALA’s group isn’t expecting any championship fights this year.

“They are moving to the bantamweight division so they are starting from scratch,” said ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer during a gathering of ALA boxers and a few members of the press.

I asked a few boxers during that press con if they got a break during the long Christmas holidays and Banal answered that they got two rest days, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“After that, it was back to the gym the next day,” Banal said.

I asked their trainer, Edito Villamor, if during that break, the boxers get to do what the rest of the Pinoys did, and that is eat a lot and Villamor replied:

“Controlled gyapun ang kaon.” Ouch.

Like I said, boxing is one tough sport and not anyone can be a boxer (though anyone with an Internet connection seems to be a boxing expert these days).

Although I think anyone can train hard, I don’t think anyone can train hard and watch what they eat. I think somebody once told me the best thing about playing badminton is the “eat all you can” after sweating it out.

DONNIE’S RESPECT. During a break in the press con, a few students who were having their lunch had the chance to take some photos of the boxers and most of them zoomed ahead to Z or Banal.

And watching them with what I think was a “I’m-used-to-being-ignored-smile,” was WBO minimumweight champion Donnie Nietes.

Nietes got a world title and a successful defense, but still, only hard-core fans know him. His name doesn’t ring a bell, and cell phone cameras don’t click (Unlike the case of Z and AJ) when he is around.

Donnie hopes to change all that when he does the unenviable job of defending his belt against a Mexican, in Mexico.

Gorres hasn’t done that; neither has Banal nor Bautista. Donnie will and hopes a win in Mexico will get him the stature that he so richly deserves.

PACFREAKS. Speaking of fans, there was a curious thread in Pacland, and I thought it was a serious matter when a poster accused a writer of being “racist.”

But when I read the article, it was anything but racist. The writer merely talked about the insults he got after saying Ricky Hatton will beat Manny Pacquiao.

The writer called them “Pacfreaks,” while others call them “Pacnuthuggers.”

Who are these guys? These guys worship inthe Church of Manny Pacquiao, and it seems they patrol cyberspace for any posts or stories that even remotely insult their god.

I think there was one sports editor in the US who got loads of e-mail from these nuts when he picked Juan Manuel Marquez over Pacquiao.

It’s useless arguing with these folks, since any point you raise may be answered by their standby responses, “You are gay, crazy or biased,” in that order. Also, if these folks get what they dish, they try to rally all Pinoys behind them, saying “The Filipinos have been insulted.” (They got it wrong, Pacfreaks are the insult to the Filipinos.)

So, to Pacfreaks, or Pacnuthuggers, say this prayer five times before you sleep, “I must get a life. I must try to be productive in my job and not spend most of my working hours on the Internet. I must get a life..”


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