POSTSCRIPT / December 11, 2012 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Pacquiao KO rings bell for retirement?

FOCUS: For a long time now, some of us fans have been looking for the Big Reason why Manny Pacquiao should retire, decide once and for all what he wants to be in life — and focus on it.

The stunning knock-out of the People’s Champ at the hands of Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last Sunday may have given Pacquiao and some of us the reason for him to hang his gloves with finality.

Or maybe not yet. The Big Boys lording it over the bloody ring, and cashing in heavily on it, are not likely to let go of the 00-year-old money-maker.

Expect them to use money, big bucks, to convince Manny that he is not knocked out yet from the multimillion-dollar gladiatorial game.

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RETURN BRAWL: Asked about a possible return brawl with Mexico’s tough guy, Pacquiao’s handler, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, said while smacking his lips: “Why not? We haven’t seen such an exciting (and profitable – fdp) fight in years.”

When Pacquiao regained his senses enough to talk with the press, he affirmed that he was not about to retire. “That’s boxing,” he explained his KO. “I started to get confident, but I never expected that punch.”

Marquez, badly bruised and bloodied, had admitted, “I knew after the last three rounds that he was going for the knockout and I could be knocked out at any time. I hit him with the perfect punch.”

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, said his fighter was actually leading. Indeed, he was — as the judges’ cards unanimously showed, until Marquez caught him in the jaw just before the bell in the sixth round.

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QUIT WHILE AHEAD: Fearfully, we ask the morning after what killer punch or thunderbolt from heaven would force Pacquiao off the ring for good.

While retirement is an option, his stunning defeat Sunday may have put a cloud over his vanishing from the scene now. For how can he, as they say, “quit while ahead” when suddenly he is not that ahead?

With advancing age and his unfortunate lack of focus, how can he bounce back and recapture enough lost glory to be able to boast he retired as undisputed champion?

Marquez’s win was so decisive that it put Pacquiao’s claim of superiority in serious question.

* * *

THE QUESTION: What he and his brood – never mind the Vegas mafia and the hangers-on – should discuss and decide is what is good for the family, and what Manny should concentrate on at this stage of his middle life.

Does the wonder boy of General Santos want to be a boxer, a congressman, a Bible preacher, a showbiz star, or what? That is the question.

With laurels and billions under his belt, Manny should heed the mother’s instincts of Aling Dionisia — and retire. I think.

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A COINCIDENCE: Some naysayers point to the curious coincidence of typhoon “Pablo” devastating a big area in Mindanao and Pacquiao’s being devastated after he dedicated that last tango to his countrymen.

The prophets of doom see the twin tragedies as a sign, or some kind of a divine message being beamed to Filipinos (except that the message is not very clear).

If I swallow that freak line, then they should also swallow my hook and sinker about Pacquiao always losing whenever I am preparing to leave the US for home.

The last time he lost to Timothy Bradley Jr. last June, on points from two of the three judges, I was departing from the Los Angeles airport. This time with Marquez I am at the JFK in New York — tapping out a Postscript on borrowed wi-fi time.

Next time Pacquiao has a fight, maybe he should beg me to keep away from a US airport and just stay home.

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BLAME GAME: Talking of “Pablo,” we feel miserable hearing reports of desperate calamity victims looting stores and bodegas while hoping for faster relief from the government and whoever comes around to help.

Typhoon and flood victims by the thousands need immediately food, water, medicine, dwellings and care — not another round of the “blame game.”

Malacañang has announced that an investigation is ongoing to make local officials accountable for what they did or did not do before, during and after “Pablo” walloped their areas.

It was not clear how Malacañang would pinpoint who among the local officials are to blame and measure the extent of their failure to prevent or mitigate injury to persons and damage to property.

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DEADLY DELAY: The managing of massive rescue, relief and rehabilitation after disasters has been discussed to death.

Much has been done to put in place a system of efficient and sufficient response, but we still spot system failures in places administered by incompetent executives.

It bears repeating that there should be earnest moves to devolve or regionalize rescue and relief operations.

When the supplies, equipment and expert personnel have to come all he way from the national capital, the delayed reaction often results in preventable loss of lives in the stricken provinces.

What ever happened to the zero-casualty target in disaster management? The blame game should cover even that.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 11, 2012)

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