Vivek Wallace Presents: 'OPEN MIC FAN MAIL' - (MANNY PACQUIAO) A Matter Of Perception And Reality
Every Wednesday ESB will feature this segment with a new published letter directly from hardcore fight fans just like you, and a response directly from Boxing Scribe Vivek Wallace! For those who don't like what the average boxing scribe has to say, there's only one way to change it........SOUND OFF! Send all 'Open Mic Fan Mail' letters to email@example.com, and remember, keep content short and concise, profanity free, and don't hold back.....the floor (and mic) is yours! Today's letter comes to us from Alejandro S. (San Francisco, CA):
Article posted on 14.10.2010
I am of Filipino heritage, originally from Cebu, and it makes me feel very good to witness the strength of Manny Pacquiao. I think when you look at all of the greats over the years, (Ali, Marciano, Louis, Robinson), what Pacquiao has accomplished, not one of them could. Many times when we Filipino's speak, it is received as being cocky, or arrogant, but there is no way to take away from what Manny has done. I read your work, and I respect that you examine certain things and speak intelligently about them, but few American writers want to give Pacquiao his credit and that is why some fiercely defend him. It always seems like he can never be good enough, and it is very false. It seems to me that many in the media root for him, but are always ready to tear him down. I feel like even though he wins every fight in the ring, he can never win, because he can never please all the people.
Antonio Margarito was found guilty of cheating and Pacquiao never was, but Margarito is getting more respect from the media, like he is the 7x world champion. This is wrong. Pacquiao has been very humble and has never been guilty of anything. He almost filled the Cowboys Stadium which no other fighter has done, but many still don't value his effort in the sport. We will support him forever, but that doesn't make us racist like many people say. Why can't he seem to win over the American people the way he can win over the Filipino people? I also want to know why do you and so many others continue to discredit his accomplishments? What he has done will never be done again. How can you and anyone argue with his success?
You touched on quite a few things, but there's one in particular that I feel compelled to address first. I'll start by saying that I thoroughly enjoy dialogue with ANY fight fan, regardless of nationality, gender, etc. The thing is, in my personal experience, there's a major disconnect with some media and a small contingent of Filipino fight fans and the blame lies in both directions. There's such an element of blind allegiance to Pacquiao by many of his countrymen that any type of statement which opens criticism - even constructive criticism - is typically viewed as a negative criticism. It's as if there should be no material written that conflicts with support of Manny. When many journalist or fight fans of non-Filipino descent speak on certain topics and there isn't an agreement, the sentiment is automatically that they're against all things Filipino. This totally disqualifies the act of being neutral, which is what any true scribe should aim for.
In example, I can say: "Pacquiao is an amazing fighter, yet some critics will question him winning titles at a catchweight". There is NOTHING about that sentence that is improper, and everything contained within is valid, yet this very sentence would be taken in such an inflammatory way that it could often result in vulgar responses, to include death threats! (Trust me, I know)! This is wrong, and totally unfair. Now to the opposite angle, there are certain things done to the Filipino contingent to instigate discord too, and those that do this need to be called out, as well, so here goes. There's a huge generalization by many non-Filipino fight fans that all Filipino fight fans are "racist". I find this pathetic. Support of ones own kind isn't in any way shape or form racist. If you're Filipino, support your Filipino's. If you're Puerto Rican, support your Puerto Ricans! What elevates the issue from basic support to 'crossing the line' is when you support superiority of your race and inferiority of others!
I'm totally fine with Filipino fight fans who support all things Filipino. I'm not fine with those who use degrading terms to tear others down in an effort to build themselves up. That's racist, and pathetic! So, when we look at these complex issues, the blame goes both ways. On another note, I think when stating that some don't show respect, you have to look at the man in the mirror as well. You said in unequivocal terms that neither Ali, Marciano, Louis, or Robinson could accomplish what Pacquiao has. I'm not quite sure how long you've been a fan of the sport, but I could find a thousand hardcore fight fans who've been around 10 times longer than you have who would say the complete opposite. The basis of their argument would be that not only did these men fight more frequently in that era, but there was practically no such thing as catchweights and re-hydration clauses.
Yes, those things existed, but you sure as hell didn't see them used as stepping stones every step of the way in your quest to re-write the record books. Oscar and Cotto both had to deal with re-hydration clauses in their contracts to face Pacquiao, and it appears Margarito will too. Few will admit it, but this is a reality. It's hard to argue that one mans accomplishment measures up to the others when such a strategy is employed. So, again, all of these things have to be considered, and done so objectively. At the end of the day, I think Pacquiao has been treated quite fairly by American and all other media. Bottom line, you're never gonna hear everything you want to, so anytime you get ready to chew on new material dished out by a fight scribe, always remember to "SET THE TABLE"! In other words, grab a knife to "cut the unnecessary BS".....grab a spoon to "get the true scoop"......don't like it? Grab a straw and "suck it up"....then "stick your fork in it and be done"!
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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