No, not Manny Rodriguez — Manny Pacquiao, probably the world's greatest contemporary boxer. Pacquiao, who beat Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas last Saturday night, now turns his attention to perhaps the biggest fight yet — to become a congressman in his native Philippines. Weekly staffer Gendy Alimurung, who interviewed Pacquiao in tagalog, profiled the Pacman for last week's cover story (“The Fight of His Life,” March 11), and the response is much like the response to Manny himself — big.
“BRAVO!” writes Vhon. “AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING ARTICLE,” says John F. Many of the commenters added the word “man,” as with this one, from Don, “Great article, man! You write good!” or this one, from Pangit: “I salute you, man.” So let's get one thing straight, guys: Alimurung is no mere man, she's a young woman. But she knows her Pacquiao.
As reader Richard attests: “I have read so many articles about Manny Pacquiao and this is by far the best one. I can imagine the things in real life while reading every word. The details that you wrote are really amazing. Great work!”
Kimmy is fairly new to the fight scene: “I began following boxing only three years ago because of Manny Pacquiao. My grandmother is half Filipino, thus the fascination about the Pacman. I read a lot of articles about him but this one almost brought tears to my eyes. So funny and yet inspiring. We visit relatives in the Philippines once in a while, so I can understand the poverty Manny had to endure. And to rise above all that to be what he is today is a great story worthy of being told again and again. Well done and thank you for this brilliant piece.”
“Wonderful story about an amazing man,” writes the intriguingly monikered Croak. “Hope he gets out of the ring soon and uses his many talents to make the world — and the PI [Philippines] — a better place.”
Freemanrockin comes a knockin': “This has got to be one of the best articles I've read about Manny ever since I've surfed the net. Whoever wrote this, you almost got me thinking I was reading a novel here, thanks. You should be one who could do his bio some day.”
Great idea, Freemanrockin! But before we get carried away, a reader calling him- or herself gl21 swoops in to bring us back to his/her idea of Earth: “Don't let me spoil your party, but boxing (and UFC) is the only 'sport' that deliberately intends to injure someone else and where the winner is proud of knocking another person into unconsciousness. There is also no question re brain damage in most of these people. You rave about his 'escape from poverty,' yet this way is worse than being a marijuana dealer.”
Them's fightin' words, gl21! Good reader Carl has a different view: “[Speaking] as a Filipino growing up in America, Manny Pacquiao gives us cultural background we can be proud of. He's like our Barack Obama, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson all rolled up in one.“
It's not just Filipino-Americans, however, who are proud of Pacquiao and who read this story. “Here in Saudi Arabia,” writes SaudiFil, “Pacman is popular also [among] native Arabs. As Pacman said, You don't have to ask for money or help. You have to work hard for them. Filipinos are hardworking people.”
Amelito Ultra writes to us from Kuwait: “Yap it is true that peoples of all walks of life want [to] share the success of Pacman. Even me, working here in Kuwait, want to be [at] one of Pacman's fights some day. But the burden for me is for the ticket; if Pacman send me a ticket it is my honor and I will be seeing Pacman fight personally at ring side.”
Pacman, are you listening?
Final word on this subject from Dave: “Manny is bigger than boxing or politics. He has always lent a helping hand to many people here (Fil-Ams) and abroad. Hopefully the people around him will learn something from him, instead of taking from him.
“You've made us proud Manny, keep doin' ya thing! When you get tired of the politics back in Pinas, try it over here in L.A. This will always be your second home.”
Sometimes we get letters that just deserve to be shared, that function as criticism, that add to the dialogue. Meet Tom Smith, responding to Gustavo Turner's blog post “Reminder to LAPD: The Notorious B.I.G. Was Murdered Here 13 Years Ago” (March 9):
“Inglorious PIG was overrated. Exploiting the worst of black culture while ripping off hits of the past, Wallace … will be forgotten. Chuck D, for example, is 10 times the rapper and man the crack ho Wallace was. Why is it that the worst of our culture — such as violence, misogyny, drug abuse, gangsterism, low-class materialism and ghetto exploitation with little to no redeeming value — is rewarded? Raps about killing pregnant women should be abhorrent in a society with any sense of taste or morals. AND NOW HE'S DEAD, because any ass who doesn't realize that 'playing gangster' will leave you with bullets in your ass is just a shortsighted fool. It's not that hard to take some nursery rhymes and set them to actual song hits written by others, but there are thousands of others who do it better who are not rewarded because they don't exploit the worst in black culture. Robert Haas, look out, Deleterious DIC made the 'S car go' joke! Gwendolyn Brooks, turn in your pen. Wanda Coleman, all your excellent writing is nothing compared to the moneymaking assholes of this world! Could Wallace read or write musical notation? Play an actual instrument? His talent was marginal but the apologists apparently have to have their martyr.”
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