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Manny Pacquiao: From national hero to polarizing politician

Earlier today, Jeffrey Horn of Australia shocked the boxing world by defeating eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny Pacquiao via unanimous decision,  117-111, 115-113, and 115-113. Some analysts are claiming that Pacquiao was robbed of the victory, and that perhaps a rematch is necessary to settle the score. The Filipino Scribe will leave that to the experts and instead focus on something else.

Pacquiao has been a national figure since 2002. We’ve seen his knockout victories, his crushing defeats, his entry into the world of politics, among others. Heck, even his wife Jinkee and mother Dionisia have become celebrities in their own right.

Nevertheless, for three big reasons, the Pacquiao vs. Horn this morning (Manila time) feels like a shadow of Manny’s previous fights.

Number one, there’s almost no buzz and excitement regarding the fight. Remember those days when our world collectively stopped just to watch his fights, as evidenced by the emptiness of major roads and zero crimes reported coinciding with the time his match is being aired? Iba na ngayon. Unless you watch the news every night, you won’t even know that he had a bout today.

Pacquiao-Horn rematch

Australian boxer Jeffrey Horn scored a controversial unanimous win over defending champion Manny Pacquiao of Philippines (Photo credits: ESPN)

Number two, more and more Filipinos are now vocal about wanting Pacquiao to lose! That would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. He is no longer a unifying symbol. He is already a polarizing personality.

That can be attributable to two factors: his unspokenness about his conservative religious beliefs as well as his closeness to President Rodrigo Duterte. Pacquiao has long earned the ire of women’s rights advocates over his steadfast opposition to the reproductive health (RH) law. Last year, his remarks that gays and lesbians are “worse than animals” triggered international uproar.

Number three, we’re not used to seeing Pacquiao lose! Okay, it’s tough seeing him defeated by the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather Jr., but we took it just fine because we know they have top caliber.

But this guy?! This is as bad as San Miguel Beermen losing to NLEX! Or Manchester United getting beaten by Philippine Azkals!

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