Amid chronic political, social and economic problems, Filipinos here and abroad have unitedly focused on the fights of their No. 1 sports hero, Manny Pacquiao. Especially now as he prepares for his Nov. 13 (Nov. 14, Manila time) match against a much taller and bigger opponent, Antonio Margarito (called the Tijuana Tornado).
The fight for WBC's Super Welterweight World Title will be at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (It will also give Pacquiao the chance to win an eighth world title in as many weight divisions, a feat unprecedented in boxing history.)
Effect of Pacquiao fights in the Philippines
During his numerous boxing events, phenomenal and unprecedented situations occur in the Philippines. The national crime rate drops to zero. Even fighting between government forces and various rebel armies simply stops. These are indeed times when great national peace temporarily descends upon the whole nation.
Because of Pacquiao's influence on national peace, Avelino Razon Jr., former adviser on the peace process under ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said, "Pacquiao has been tapped to be the 'symbol' of peace and unity because each time he fights[,] communist and Muslim insurgents were drawn away briefly from combat duties to watch the bout" (GMA News.TV, May 19, 2009).
Who is Manny Pacquiao?
Gareth A. Davies, a sports journalist for The Daily Telegraph since 1993, in his Nov. 6, 2010, update said:
"Pound for pound, Pacquiao is said to be the best fighter in the world. [Boxing] Promoter Bob Arum says Pacquiao is better than the greats he has promoted over the last 40 years, including Muhammad Ali. 'Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter that I have ever seen,' Arum says. Better than Ali? 'Yes he is, because Ali was essentially a one-handed fighter. Manny Pacquiao really shocks these fighters because he hits equally hard from the left side and the right side.'"
An editorial by Aleck Francis T. Lim, published Nov. 7, 2010, in The Bohol Standard adds: "For a Filipino to endorse a big shot politician in America, that is something for a record. Manny Pacquiao was seen on television and read in newspapers around the globe endorsing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who won during the most recent midterm elections in America. The appearance of Pacquiao for Reid's campaign was credited as one of the factors of the senator's victory." (This endorsement by Pacquiao was, of course, arranged by Bob Arum.)
Interestingly, 54 Philippine congressmen have flown to the United States to watch this weekend's fight. Pacquiao himself was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives in May and now becomes perhaps the "first congressman in the world in any nation to fight for a boxing championship title."
Manny Pacquiao has now become arguably the most popular Filipino thus far. He has received many national and international awards and distinctions, too numerous to list here; including being featured on the TIME Asia magazine cover Nov. 16, 2009, as one of the most influential persons in the world. Not to be outdone, the Philippine postal system has printed his image on a stamp, making him the first athlete to be given that honor.
Why do Filipinos idolize their boxing champion?
In the May 19, 2009, report on GMA News.TV, ex-president Arroyo said "she depends on Pacquiao to become an instrument of peace..., citing that his 'heart, valiance, dignity and love of God and of our country exemplify the indomitable and triumphant Filipino Spirit.
"'We are truly proud of Manny as he also champions the Filipino, inspiring the Filipino to dare to dream, and to realize that dream, and win over the challenges that came our way...'
"She added that Pacquiao, who has humble beginnings before becoming a multi-millionaire by winning many world titles in boxing, is proof that if one sets his heart in the right direction, chooses to serve a higher and nobler purpose, and puts God and country before self, then nothing is impossible to achieve."
What does this Philippine phenomenon project internationally and into the future?
The Filipino people desperately hunger for a hero, for deliverance from all their woes, for one who can conquer big obstacles and problems and has the capability, power and great resources to hopefully make wide-ranging positive changes. The people of the rest of the world hunger for that type of hero as well. The present Philippine experience can simply be viewed as a reflection of the longings of this world's suffering and hopeless humanity.
Real hope for this world is coming, and it is going to be a reality, but not in the hands of any man. This world's increasing problems cannot be solved by any man or any giant conglomerate corporation or even the cooperative union of all the nations on this earth. (How much world peace and unity has the United Nations accomplished in the 65 years since its founding?)
Thankfully, in great love and mercy, a supernatural, majestic Messiah is sure to come to earth to give ultimate deliverance to all mankind and to solve all of our insurmountable problems. But His coming will not depend on collective human approval.
For more details on this very important subject that will surely affect every single one of us, please request or download your free copy of The Gospel of the Kingdom. You may even have a very important role in that Kingdom, if you prepare now.