Let me start this year by making some few wishes, and because this column isn’t meant to please everybody (which is why it is called ‘Anti-Thesis’), some of my wishes will surely irritate some people. Very good!
So here is my wish list:
1. Manny Pacquiao solves his tax/financial woes—reports of Pacquiao not managing his finances well, and getting into trouble for allegedly not paying proper taxes deeply bother me. Boxers retiring with their financial bonanza intact are a rare lot, and it looks like Pacquiao won’t be one of them if he couldn’t solve his financial and tax woes. The worst thing that can happen to Pacquiao is he is forced to keep on fighting just to meet financial obligations, and don’t tell me that putting another fighter similar to Brandon Rios will be a great draw. On the other hand, taking on the up and coming fighters in the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions like knockout artist Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner or even Marcus Maidana present risks to Pacquiao because they are live opponents who can hit back hard, unlike Rios.
2. Stop the clamor for Pacquiao-Mayweather—Okay, I will say it again: Pacquiao no longer has the tools to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. And I do not want to see Pacquiao take another beating given that his career is on its last legs. The split decision win of Pacquiao over Juan Manuel Marquez on November 2011 made me doubt if Pacquiao could beat Mayweather. And the knockout win of Marquez over Pacquiao on December 2012 wrote off Pacquiao-Mayweather from my mind. So let’s all stop dreaming of Pacquiao-Mayweather.
3. Nonito Donaire shines more—Donaire has less technical faults compared to Pacquiao, and has less wear and tear even if he is approaching 31 years old, because he has fought “only” 32 fights. Donaire, however, should take two more fights before getting into a rematch with Guillermo Rigondeaux. For this next fight, I suggest he take on Kiko Martinez, the new International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion who stopped Jeffrey Mathebula on December 12, 2013. Mathebula was easily beaten by Donaire on July 2012. Donaire could also call out Johnny Gonzales, who stopped in one an erstwhile-unbeaten Abner Mares on August 24 last year.
4. Government learn from latest Southeast Asian Games finish—The Manila Times was the only local news daily that published as its headline the worst finish the Philippines achieved from the recent SEA Games held at Myanmar. And my reaction is: shame, shame, shame! Going into the games, the Philippines was known to have the best or second-best performing economy in the region, and all countries boasting of good economic growth would use athletic meets to showcase, at least, their athletic might. And the Philippines landed at the bottom of the heap. Wow! Granted that some games were scrapped in favor of sports where the Burmese would excel better, landing in last place was still shameful. So does it help that the country’s sports czar is the uncle of the President? And should we be hopeful that there would be dramatic changes in the country’s sports scene after this latest debacle in Myanmar? Or will we hear dozens of excuses on why the country performed that well? Anyway, if the government cannot properly respond within a week after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit parts of the Visayas, what else can we expect from the country’s sports czar and their minions in the private sports organizations?
5. Amateur and professional athletes continue to role models—the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines finals between De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas was a classic not only because it went down the wire, but because it was not marred by any fighting, heckling, or unsportsmanlike behavior. As for the Philippine Basketball Association, fights between players, and players and fans should be a thing of the past.
I also wish that Mayweather taste his first defeat this year, but I do not see that happening because the current crop of young welterweights and junior welterweights could only “test” him at the most. Another wish is for Philippine football to reach greater heights and acceptance, and for the famed Azkals to win more international meets.
The year 2013 was challenging for Philippine sports, and for me, it was quite a challenge putting out a weekly Anti-Thesis column. It’s even harder taking an anti-thesis stand on certain sports issues. But heck, the tone of this column won’t change for 2014.