The Act

magician

I waited in line

To see the affair

I couldn’t find you

But everyone was there

They hummed and they hustled

They brought me to the stage

I was to be the performance

The act of the mage

A word I got in

But the sentenced was passed

And in the silence of it all

They spoke of the task

They said “carry on!

We have a long day ahead

It’s a very short life

And plenty of dead”

“But perhaps we could tarry

And maybe still stay

Another morning, perchance

To see the clear day?”

But there were no dangled maybes

Only a tight noose

We hang in the balance

Of the ropes we cut loose

And so I do fall

For the very last time

Not in that love

But out of this crime

As I bid all farewell

You appear among the crowd

Conjured up by the mage

You curtseyed and bowed

And the gallows did grieve

The magic of all that

For nothing does last

But that one final act

Why I’m Relieved American Idol Is Cancelled

Fox recently announced the upcoming cancellation of the popular singing competition American Idol,  leaving many surprised TV viewers to remark “What? It’s still showing?!” The decision came a few days before Idol crowned its latest winner Nick Fradiani who sang “Centuries” in the season finale as a fitting tribute to the competition and the hundreds of years that have passed since people have stopped caring about it. Fradiani is the latest addition to Idol’s list of success stories that include big names such as white-haired-guy-after-Carrie-Underwood, season 13 winner Jack Black jr., and 2012 double-named champion: That Dude That Dude.

After several years, the contest is set to premier its final season in 2016, marking the long-awaited end to a show that has overstayed its welcome. In the interest of fairness, however, I would first like to give credit to Idol’s initial success and the brilliance it possessed to be able to replicate and maintain it for how many years.

American Idol is the original singing competition; this will never change. The success enjoyed by similar talent competitions can be attributed to the concept and fan-base Idol has established. Though much of these shows have structures different from AI, their format was built on tweaking the original. The X factor, for example, was created by judge Simon Cowell whose AI fame — or infamy — greatly helped the newer program. His brutal honesty and scathing criticism has given both shows an authentic feel to them.  Furthermore, Simon Fuller — American Idol creator — had actually filed a lawsuit against Cowell — an action I’m sure a lot of traumatized AI contestants had mulled over. The legal complaint sprung from the alleged copyright-infringement of The X Factor, claiming that the show was a blatant rip-off of AI’s format.  The Voice expanded the judges role from critiquing to directly coaching the contestants but there’s no denying its system is close to that of Idol’s. AI paved the way for these programs to now capitalize on a market once exclusively dominated by the original singing contest.

Having a similar format, however, is a reflection of a show’s lack of originality, not necessarily their overall quality. Many fans would readily concede that The X Factor or The Voice are copycats but attest to their superior execution. It’s a classic case of “what you can do, I can do better” which, according to recent ratings, The Voice is actually doing http://headlineplanet.com/home/2015/04/09/ratings-the-voice-results-show-crushes-american-idol-performance-show/. Though The X Factor U.S. was cancelled over a year ago, the various talent shows are proving to be competition to Idol.

Despite the influx of similar shows, however, AI has an edge in the number of successful artists it has produced. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Christ Daughtry all have their claim to fame. This article by Forbes lists down the top 10 Idol contestants based on the number of albums sold. Sadly, their popularity is short-lived with follow up albums doing poorly years after their initial hits. Which begs the question: has Idol really produced artists with sustained success?

The answer is more complicated than the question. AI has produced the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood who have multiple Grammy’s to their name. They have become household names over the years, while Fantasia Barrino is catching up as she quietly gathers her own collection of nominations. Hudson proved to be more than just a singer, winning an Oscar for her performance in Dream Girls. The rest, however, had cashed in on their 15 minutes only to fade out of the limelight. So yes, Idol has produced artists with sustained success but not enough of them to do justice to the show’s goal of creating stars out of regular people.

The business of Idol is to serve these aspiring contestants. The show has failed in this regard for the past couple of years, leading many to wonder about the whole point of the contest. If it cannot produce long-lasting successful stars then maybe Idol is really only serving itself — we all know how much cash it rakes in every season. AI is doing more to help out the careers of former superstars with the resurgent following they’ve gotten from the show’s fan-base. And though one can argue that the contest can only go so far in lending a hand to these artists and the rest should be up to them, it leaves us to question the very effectiveness of the program. Maybe television talent shows are no longer viable avenues for that pursuit of fame and glory. There are better alternatives out there. YouTube, for example, is proving to be a great channel for aspiring stars to try their luck with Bieber and Carly Jae Repsen having started out there. The site offers the same number of viewers and an easier time — after all it’s much less difficult to perform in from of a WebCam than a live panel, unless Paula Abdul is there. She’ll probably hold the camera for you while you sing.

Dipping ratings, failure to produce stars, these have contributed to the show’s much needed cancellation. The ultimate reason, however, is far simpler. Idol has simply gone on for too long. Fifteen years is a lot of time; viewers get tired, ideas run out, the novelty and excitement over all of it simply fades. There is nothing wrong with reinventing things as AI had done, and shows who do so should be given due credit. There is a limit to all TV programs, however, even the good ones. Friends for example had maintained its success even in the latter seasons but they knew when to call it a day. Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan made sure to keep the hit series short and…intensely depressing to keep it interesting. Perhaps Idol’s biggest mistake is not acknowledging sooner the expiration date on their once brilliant show.

Of course all this is irrelevant to the executive producers of FOX given that they’ve been making large sums of money regardless of the show’s diminishing popularity. Therein lies another problem, profit maximization often takes paramount importance over anything else, including quality — which includes delivering on the show’s goal of producing stars. Producers milk every single cent they can out of a show before they decide to axe it and this turns things sour. Idol had long been a shadow of its former glory and yet its creators decided to keep it on for money’s sake. I’m not going to go into the ethical implications of this — the showbiz industry is still after all a business and profit is still once of its main goals — but its negative impact on its overall quality is worth protesting about.

AI’s cancellation is a welcome relief in the end. The show was running the risk of fading to oblivion — or what Ryan Seacrest secretly refers to as pulling off a Brian Dunkleman. Some say it should have ended after the two Davids finale, some say it should have been axed after the Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj fiasco, I personally think Simon Cowell’s exit was a clear sign to pack things up, but almost everyone agrees on one thing: AI should’ve ended long ago.

Idol’s failed promises have comeback with a vengeance. Much like its contestants, the show has exhausted its popularity and potential. The only tragedy is, while its aspiring stars had fifteen minutes, American Idol has had fifteen years of fame.

Burdened with “Glorious” Boredom

Loki

To my fellow fresh graduates, the time has come; the real world is making its presence felt, challenging our now seemingly delusional expectations of life after college. We’re bored. Trying to find a job seems to be the only course of action right now. It’s all part of the trajectory that society –almost every society — has laid out for us: Find a job, make money, start a family, and with your kids growing up and finishing school the cycle repeats itself. As nice and stable as that may sound, it brings us to the root of our boredom encompassed in the ultimate existential question: Is that it?

We are burdened with “glorious” boredom. Yet unlike that god of mischief our cross to carry isn’t  conquering the known world or subjugating an entire species; It is imagining a better world and freeing the same creatures, including ourselves, of the false idea that this is all there is to it. That this is the only world we will come to know — unfortunately, us mere mortals cannot summon a horde of frenzied aliens from a portal in the sky to help us out. That would really help make things more exciting.

We are fresh from university — the haven for diverse ideas. Yet upon entering the real world we become exposed to one dominant idea. The traditional path that we are expected to follow. The shift in environment is drastic; this is where the disillusionment kicks in. Expectations — the endless possibilities that we once thought were laid before us– do not meet reality. There are infinite possibilities, yes, but there is one — that conventional course — that seems to be followed by everyone around us including most of our parents. And though these people may never explicitly ask you to follow the same path, they have pretty much led by example.

Our boredom arises not from a lack of stimuli for in the digital age of attention-deficit discord, we have plenty of distractions. Our boredom springs from a lack of imagination, the ability to defy reality and its dictates by going beyond it. This is extremely difficult. As Loki put it while the crowd kneeled before him, subjugation is much simpler. He makes a compelling argument in saying it is “the unspoken truth that we crave for” because it is infinitely easier to follow that conventional path. Making money, getting married, raising kids who will make money, get married, and raise kids, it honestly makes for a good story. But so does teaming up to save the world from destruction, refusing to bow down to countless vicious monsters and an all-powerful god.

It’s been more than a month since I graduated. And though the lessons I learned are still with me, I cannot deny that day by day boredom hits me, chiselling away at the ideas I formed in college — the notion I can choose my own path, that I can live the life I want. Inch by inch my dreams are quietly shaped to fit everyone’s expectations. In a way, reality acts more like fantasy, romanticizing the stable life as ideal.  Yet there is no glorifying boredom.  No praise in conforming to what is expected of you. There is more truth in fantasy. There is more glory in a band of grown men — and a woman — cloaked in ridiculously garish outfits using their equally absurd superpowers to carve their own path, to defy and vanquish a tyrant who once asked the whole world to kneel before him.

(You can also find this article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jio-f-deslate/burdened-with-glorious-boredom_b_7248690.html)

Why Pro-Athletes Should Support LGBT Rights

(Author’s notes: I expressed my preference for Pacquiao over Mayweather as a source of inspiration to boxing fans and struggling people alike in a previous article. I stand by my opinion, despite his stance against same-sex marriage and the reproductive health law,  that Pacquiao is a better source of inspiration for struggling people in spite of this. He is a good example to follow for the underprivileged given his humble beginnings and his commitment to giving  back to the community through championing advocacies such as the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill and House Bill 61 — for the establishment of breast cancer centers — the former became a law in 2013. While Mayweather may have put up his “Money” persona and history of actual human rights violations — such as his domestic abuse cases — does not at all jibe with his charitable efforts. These boxers are public personalities and how they conduct themselves does matter.) 

esera tuaolo

(Esera Tuaolo from http://www.morristrophy.com/past-winners/players/esera-tuaolo/  Tuaolo was charged with domestic abuse involving his boyfriend back in 2010. He was found innocent and all charges were dropped and dismissed by the court. He had been an active advocate of LGBT rights until the allegations as organizations dropped him as a spokesperson. Here is his story http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Esera-Tuaolo-Coming-back-from-darkness-/38455.html http://www.outsports.com/2012/7/12/4053380/esera-tuaolo-speaks-about-coming-back-from-two-very-dark-years)

A different battle raged on social media amidst last Saturday’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight as Twitter exploded with a series of homophobic slurs. Fans of either boxers took to the site to express their opinions about Floyd jr.’s dodging tactics and Manny’s aggressive approach. Viewers exchanged quips of “Gayweather” and “MANny” in an effort to influence people’s perception of the two competitors by painting a picture of homosexuality as undesirable, equating it with cowardice.

Spectators made several comments on my previous article misconstruing my remarks about Pacquiao’s offense-oriented style. I opined that Pacman’s method resonated more with fans because of the combative nature of the sport. Boxing is a full-contact sport and we want boxers to visibly make contact and engage. By no means was I suggesting that Mayweather was gay for not having done so. And yet the subject of homosexuality was injected into the picture. The reason behind this is sports has historically been identified with men and masculinity. The advent of female athletes is fairly recent and men have had a monopoly over the industry for the longest time. Given this, men were able to exclusively shape sports and, inversely, sports was able to shape men. This is perhaps why our ideas of masculinity, of what a man should be like mostly come from sports. A man should take control, be aggressive, be competitive. These traits have been so identified with men that we typically attribute them to the more general quality of masculinity. Anyone who possesses these traits is surely a man. And those who are devoid of these isn’t.

Another quality conventionally attributed to men is heterosexuality. Sure sports originated from the Greeks who were accepting of homosexuality but as the centuries went by, the idea of man was that of one who liked women and no one else. And so athletes, who were then all male, also had to be straight by virtue of their sex. As female athletes came into the picture, those who participated in the more traditionally masculine sports — such as basketball, American football, combat sports — came to be seen as butches regardless of their actual sexual orientation. This is where the stigma from being a gay or lesbian athlete comes from. Esera Tuaolo, a former NFL star, is a testament to this. In this article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/13/esera-tuaolo-michael-sam-_n_4781976.html Tuaolo commented on the decision of Michael Sam, college football player, to come out

“I’d rather have what he’s gonna get other than the things that I went through […] Now [players and coaches are] held accountable for their actions and for their words […] If it was like that when I was playing, yeah, maybe I would’ve felt comfortable coming out, if I felt like I had the support […I] did not feel safe at all […]It was so hard…being in that masculine environment. The secret killed me.”

This ultra-masculine atmosphere of sports mentioned above is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it is the bastion of the backward notion of masculinity, the safe haven for the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. On the other hand it is the ideal venue for the espousal of LGBT rights. The same industry that had once reinforced the rigid views on gender can also be the catalyst for change by dismantling and the institutions that seek to discriminate against LGBTs and introducing reforms in favor of their rights. Further sanction actively homophobic players and coaches, promote LGBT rights in events. And for the individual superstars of each sport, if they are part of the LGBT community, they should come out as long as they’re comfortable enough to do so. Much inspiration will come from this. The heterosexual athletes can also help the community by voicing out their support for them and their rights.

Drastic change will come from the advocacy of these influential men and women. The people who experience the dictates of a misguided tradition should be the driving force behind its transformation. Simply by refusing to conform to any notion of what a man or a woman should be and who they should or should not like.

Unfortunately, many professional athletes are still against the community’s rights. Mayweather and Pacquiao themselves, the two subjects of stereotyping last Saturday, have both indirectly and explicitly expressed their stance against them. Although Mayweather proclaimed his support for same-sex marriage he had done so conveniently just a few hours after his rival Pacquiao expressed his own disapproval on the controversial issue — at a time when the “Fight of the Century” was still in the works and gradually being hyped. Floyd jr. was also guilty of uttering the word “faggot” several times to different people including his own father, radio host Rude Jude, and the Pacman — taking away the sincerity of his support.

(http://deadspin.com/5856433/floyd-mayweather-isnt-ducking-manny-pacquaio-hes-being-persecuted-or-something

http://www.boxing.com/fathers_and_sons.html

http://www.interaksyon.com/interaktv/amid-pacquiao-lgbt-row-mayweather-professes-gay-marriage-support)

Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, has been quoted as saying “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married.”  (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/manny-pacquiao-gay-marriage-leviticus-examiner_n_1521747.html)

However, the number of athletes coming out have increased over the years, providing much inspiration for the LGBT community. A website called outsports.com features several amateur and professional athletes who have done exactly this. (http://www.outsports.com/out-gay-athletes). Plenty of straight athletes, over the years, have also expressed their support for the community’s rights as can be seen here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/straight-pro-athletes-allies-lgbt-rights_n_1891616.html)

The sports industry had been a breeding ground for the misguided, conservative mentality regarding gender and sexual orientation. Over the years it has gradually transformed its traditions in order to give way to their athletes’ rights against any homophobic discrimination The time has come for a more drastic move to support LGBTs as the industry, hopefully, learns to understand and take advantage of the important role they play in this revolution.

(This article can also be found here http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7211440)

Cursor

cursor

It blinked to mock me to go about what i set out to do to write about i forget because i must continue writing for as long as i keep typing and i type fast enough it will disappear and it wont reappear to haunt me with its waiting eyes expecting another word to come out im not writing poetry and no art will come of this im just trying to type without you hovering over me vulture like waiting for any brief moment of hesitation when you can flicker away like some sort of light switch urging me to decide whether i want it bright or dark and blinding me until i decide and drive me crazy with your slow methodic drum beat imitating the monotonous but relentless tick of a clock that waits for me to stop waiting and start doing something lest it ticks louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and louder and breaks and breaks me. And you return to laugh robotically at the destruction with that same unchanging rhythm “ha ha ha” you win now just leave me alone but you won’t you won’t and you never ever will

The Fisherman’s Wife (a short story)

Fisherman

The sea was silent for a moment. It was summer and the waves were gentle at this time of night, easier for catching big fish. This was common knowledge among the fisher-folk of Barrio San Alfonso.

“I need to catch a big one tonight. Aida and I really need the money. The debts are piling up and she might leave me,” said Mario. He was muscular yet visibly old.

“That would be a shame. She’s very beautiful,” replied Miguel, the other fisherman, his clean-shaven face accentuating his youth.

He brought out a bottle of gin hidden inside the boat, deftly opening it with his pocketknife.

Their boat softly swayed to the rhythm of the intensifying waves. The silence was undisturbed. The darkness was absolute, completely covering the view of the shore.

“What’s that?” asked Miguel, pointing to the flash of light floating away from their direction.

“Patrol boats. A couple have been going around since the disappearances.”

“The serial killer, right? Do you really believe that? Someone like that would’ve been easily noticed in our small barrio!”

“I don’t know what to believe but I can’t afford to miss out on night jobs. Aida went berserk when she found out I was going out. She’s absolutely frightened of that killer. All our windows have been barred shut. No choice, though. This is the perfect time for a good catch. More fish, less competition,” replied Mario.

The light flashed on them for a moment as the boat floated further away. The darkness was enough to shroud their faces but Miguel hid the bottle just the same. The captain eyed the two fishermen as his deputy rowed. Their boat was no better than the rest. The wood was warped from all the sea salt, the oar was crooked from misuse.

“What’s that in your hand?”

“Aida’s ring. It’s pure silver. She asked me to pawn it for this month’s rent but I couldn’t bare to do it.”

“Do you ever miss her?” asked Miguel, handing the bottle to Mario.

“I do. But when we’re at home, we always just argue. I suppose it’s my fault. I have been neglecting her.” Mario took a big gulp. The gin went straight to his stomach, warming his poorly-clothed body. He dressed for the summer heat, being left vulnerable to the treacherously chilling night breeze.

“Ah my friend, don’t think that! I’m sure you’ve been taking care of her alright!” replied Miguel as he fiddled with his pocketknife. It was freshly sharpened, the silver shone but it was dulled by the darkness. “Damn. If only there was enough light here. It has such a nice polish to it. Just like that silver ring” he thought.

“I hope. I can no longer seem to make her happy.”

“Psh! Don’t be so depressed! All you need is a good drink! Put the fire back in your heart!”

Mario thirstily finished the bottle. The sound of the waves were getting gentler and gentler as his hearing deteriorated. The stars were coming out and night sky looked magnificent. They were drifting further into the sea. The rocking of the boat lulled him to sleep.

“Looks like he had too much to drink. Such a fragile, old man,” thought Miguel. He looked at the endless sea across them. “This is no place for him.” He gingerly approached the older fisherman who was now out cold. He quietly sat down, watching him sleep. He gently placed his hand on his shoulder, slowly tracing his hand towards the neck. He cautiously opened his fist, wrapping his fingers around the old man’s throat.

“Miguel! Did I fall asleep? What are you doing?” asked Mario, yawning awake.

“Yes, you were, my friend, fast asleep. In fact, I was frightened for a moment. I had to check your pulse to see if you were still breathing!”

“Ah you’re a good man! I had a dream! Aida and I were together! We both looked so young! She was wearing her favorite pink dress and we were dancing in the kitchen! There was a large fish on the table, a humungous one! And we were dancing! Dancing like the good old days!”

“That’s wonderful, my friend! I think it’s time you catch that humungous fish!”

“Yes, yes! I can feel it now. That must’ve been a sign, Miguel! I won’t give up!”

Mario cast his net into the water with vigorous hope.

“I was once a great fisherman,” he thought to himself as he waited with bated breath. “I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten that but I must show her!” Minutes turned to hours as the bottles of gin piled up inside the boat.  Their patience was greatly tested. The net remained still as the sea around it. Mario breathed a deep sigh.

“There’s nothing left here,” he lamented, mournfully pulling back his net.

“Non-sense! You just have to wait!”

“There’s no more time. The sun is about to rise and she will be looking for me.” He laid down the net neatly, wiped the sea from his hands, and sat back down. He looked upon the distant shore, now visible from the light of the dawn.

“I was once a great fisherman, you know? I went for the biggest ones. The marlins, the swordfish, the yellowfins! That’s when she fell in love with me. Soon the fish got smaller and smaller but it was enough for us to get by. She would smile and kiss me good luck every morning before I set out. She was such a loving woman. You can see our house from the sea, you know? It’s this little wooden shack right by the tallest palm tree to the right. If we’re near enough the shore, you can see it. That’s what kept me going”

“What happened then?” asked Miguel while he slowly polished his knife with a stone he found on the boat.

“I started heading out more and more. And I started seeing her less and less. I needed to catch the big ones. And when I got home, I was too tired and saddened by the day’s catch. But she still loved me. Eventually, I lived out at sea. Day and night I searched but there were none to be found. I took to drinking. And there were days when I was too drunk to even bring home the smaller catch. Eventually she got tired of it all. There were no more fish in the sea. And there were no more kisses in the morning.”

“Such a shame! But I know you can work it out! Don’t give up on your lovely wife. You’re very lucky to have someone as beautiful as her!”

“I know! You don’t need to tell me! That’s why I needed to catch a big one tonight!”

“One last try, my friend! I believe in you! There is still a great fisherman inside of you!”

“Ha! You’re too naïve, my good man! But a merry company! You’re right! What’s the harm. Bring out the gin and we’ll catch that fish!”

The net was fervently cast into the sea. The two men eagerly looked on as the break of dawn promised a new day. Time passed and the waves ebbed, seemingly commiserating with their growing sorrow.

“There’s a tug! I can feel it! Pull!” shouted Mario. His years out at sea had sharpened his sensitivity to the gentlest movements.

“Pull! We almost got it!” The two men summoned up all their strength in a desperate struggle against the beast. The fight proved successful as they hauled in a monster swordfish.

“This is almost six meters long! We got it! We caught the damn bastard! Aida will be so pleased! She’ll be so happy!” declared Mario.

“This is cause for celebration! I’ll bring out the whiskey!”

The two men drank the hour away. They watched the sun make its way up as the red sky welcomed their merriment. Mario was ecstatic. And though his senses were numbed by the liquor, he could still appreciate the beauty the morning had to offer. He looked to the shore. He could not wait to come home to his beautiful wife as tears rolled down his face.

In the distance, the patrol boat stood still. Miguel could see the officers were exhausted. They looked beyond the horizon, oblivious to everything around them. Their backs were turned and they were completely vulnerable. He took out a silver revolver concealed in the gunwale of the boat. Mario was still looking towards the shore, his mind fully occupied. Miguel took this chance. He fired once at the captain and dove into the sea.

The gunshot shook Mario back to his senses. He looked around wondering what happened. Another shot was fired. Mario fell on his back from the impact. The wound was deep but there was no pain. The liquor made sure of that. He arched his neck, figuring out what happened. Blood was all over him, it was splattered on the boat and on the fish. He cried out for help as he looked to the shore. It was the last thing he saw.

“Captain that’s not him. That’s not the guy in the sketches they showed us,” said the deputy as they approached the fishermen’s boat.

“Then change the sketch! He’s our new serial killer and we got him!” replied the Captain, holding on to his leg wound.

“What about the other one, sir?”

“He’s gone. Forget about him. Let’s just take this one back!”

The two officers carried Mario onto the boat. His weight would have made it impossible for a single person to do.

“It’s a two-man job,” thought Miguel as he waited for the officers to leave. Soon he made his way to their boat. The catch was left untouched save for a few splatters of the blood of his fellow fisherman. He took out his knife. The polished metal looked even more beautiful with the light of the sun. He gutted the fish, smiling at the size of it. He rowed the boat forward, eyeing a little wooden house nearby. He took a swig of the whiskey and made his way to the shore with a silver ring in hand.

On the Mayweather Victory and Why It Doesn’t Matter

Mayweather-Pacquiao

It really wasn’t about the fight’s result in the end. I’m not sour-graping. Neither am I disregarding the decisions of the judges. Floyd Mayweather did win. He outboxed Manny and — save for a few headlocks and an overuse of clinches — he did this fair and square. He will go down in history as an undefeated boxer who locked horns with the best of them. But that’s not really the story we care about. If the two men hung up their gloves this very day Mayweather’s victory would just be a footnote in the inspiring life of a fighter like Manny Pacquiao.

The great thing about boxing is that like any other sport it caters to our basest emotions in a relatively healthy way. It frees our primal side and leads us to be completely honest. I’ve encountered reserved, tactful adults screaming “yeah go kick his ass!” in the middle of a match. We scream, we cringe, we cry at every punch because we’re connected on a gut level. Because stripped bare of all its formalities boxing is still two people in a ring slugging it out.  And as human beings, it is hardwired in our nature, we love fights. Boxing is a fight at the end of the day. And in a fight we like seeing people pour their hearts out. While points and judges’ decisions are necessary to keep things in order, the primal root of boxing cannot be reduced to these. Matches won through sheer technical skill feel like they’re robbing us of the sport’s essence We want to see people fight hard. And, more importantly, we want to see them fighting for something because those who fight for a cause fight the hardest. And this is precisely why Manny’s valiant struggle is way more important than Mayweather’s shallow victory. History will remember Floyd Jr.’s undefeated streak, yes. He will be celebrated for it, surely. But the fans — those who have been moved by great fighters —  these people and their kids and grand kids through them will also remember Manny’s unwavering and humble dedication to the the sport and all it stands for and here’s why.

ali civil rights Manny Pacquiao Money Mayweather

Mayweather is a businessman. He’s smart, savvy, and he’s in love with his money. He’s a great boxer but I can scarcely call him a fighter. Not inside or outside the ring. This has nothing to do with his arrogance — as annoying as it may be. Ali probably had a bigger mouth than him, but he was fighting for a cause. Black Power, the Civil Rights Movement, racial equality. He fought for these as much as he fought for those championship titles. Manny may not have a specific advocacy but he dedicates each match to the Filipino people while simultaneously pledging parts of his earnings to various charities. That, in itself, is enough to inspire millions of his fellow countrymen who are as disadvantaged as he once was. And Mayweather? The man who plead guilty to domestic violence? A man who only prioritizes financial gain? I’ve never heard of a more horrible nickname than “Money.” His cause is greed and materialism. He refused Manny’s offer to donate the fight’s proceeds to charity because he wanted it for himself. What he wants to do with even more money is beyond me but he is a sorry example of a champion. A man who has all the skills without any  heart and soul. A man devoid of a moral compass. He is the epitome of what professional boxing has become. All glitz and glamour and money-making. As long as he is the poster boy for the sport, I’d sooner watch a backroom bare-knuckle brawl. At least they fight hard there.

We, as fans of the sport, deserve champions not only inside the ring but outside it. Those who are deeply inspired by hard work and sacrifices boxers go through deserve a champion who fights for something. Noble men and women who see the struggles in their careers as extensions of their struggles in real life. I’ll be damned if that little kid, left for dead in the streets, looks to Mayweather and says “that’s who I wanna be!” A man who cares for nothing, nothing but money and his reputation. A man who abuses the mother of his children. I’ll be damned if that struggling single parent looks to him and sees the fulfillment of their aspirations. There is no starker contrast than Manny and Mayweather, and I pray they see the Pacman instead as their source of inspiration. A man who has struggled from the very bottom and, despite his success, has remained humble enough to offer each fight and attribute each victory to God and country. A man who chooses to serve his fellow countrymen in whatever way possible. Not a man who uses his strength to physically abuse his wife. Not a man who only takes pride in his wealth and legacy and thinks about nothing else.

Mayweather may have won this morning but it doesn’t really matter. He could defeat ten more Manny Pacquiao’s but he will never be remembered the way Pacman will be, as a true fighter. “Money” stands for nothing. He may be undefeated, but he is not a champion. Manny Pacquiao is and always will be.