We and Manny should be bigger than his loss

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For Manny Pacquiao and for our nation, it’s important to remember that this time of disappointment over his defeat in “the fight of the century” is a test of character and good sense.

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Defeat, when faced sensibly and harnessed properly, can be turned into something positive. It can serve as a platform for turning the game of life around – from losing to winning.

This is not quack psychology. I’ve distilled it from years of study of the phenomenon of victory and defeat in sports – having been at some time in my life, a sports competitor, a sports manager and a sports leader.

In her books and lectures on business management and leadership at Harvard business School, Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter devotes a considerable part of her research to studying and interviewing athletes and sports coaches about the experience of winning and losing, and about the challenge of turning defeat and loss around.

Two reactions to the agony of defeat
Here’s a remarkable and unremarked sidelight to last Sunday’s events in Las Vegas.

In Los Angeles, USA, on the same night that Manny Pacquiao was battling Floyd Mayweather in their long-anticipated duel, the San Antonio Spurs, the reigning champion of the National Basketball Association (NBA), played the Los Angeles Clippers in the deciding game of their seven-game playoff series.

Like Manny, the Spurs lost the epic battle for the ages.

And yet, the two defeated competitors could not have been more unlike in dealing with the agony of defeat.

I thought myself fortunate to have caught on TV Gregg Popovich, the great multi-titled coach of the Spurs, as he spoke about his team’s setback. A great communicator, whom sports journalists dread to interview because of his biting wit and acid tongue, Popovich spoke about the subject with exceptional grace and equanimity.

Asked how it felt to see his beloved Spurs dethroned as champions, Popovich said simply and philosophically: “You have to be bigger than the loss.” He applauded and thank his team for giving the game their best shot. And then he generously commended the Clippers for their victory and wished them well.

The episode stands in sharp contrast to the reactions in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. After the bout, Manny said he thought he had won the fight and was surprised by the unanimous decision given to Mayweather. Pacquiao fans at the MGM gym booed the verdict. Here at home, most Filipinos were disbelieving and despondent; they thought Mayweather did nothing but run away from Manny during the fight.

But the real story was more crushing. When I checked the reports of reputable analysts and columnists on the fight, I was startled to find how they totally agreed with the official verdict.

Pacquiao did not deliver
The report of Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports summed it up conclusively for me. In a key passage, he wrote:Share

“The fight didn’t live up to its billing, at least on Pacquiao’s end. Mayweather was his typically brilliant self, blunting the Filipino’s charge with a stiff jab he doubled up on repeatedly, and cracking him with the occasional lead right hand.

On the rare occasions Pacquiao cut off the ring and trap him, Mayweather would use a short hook and then spin out of his corner to create space.

“He ran very well,” sniffed Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.

But that came across as sour grapes, considering that Team Pacquiao knew full well what it was getting into when it signed to fight Mayweather.

One sign that something was amiss with Pacquiao was the punch totals. Pacquiao landed 81 of 429 punches. It wasn’t all that shocking that Mayweather landed more, or that he landed at a higher percentage.

But it is almost beyond comprehension that Mayweather threw more punches. He landed 148 of 435.

Pacquiao’s best chance was to throw in volume and overwhelm Mayweather.

But he may not have been physically able to do that. Pacquiao suffered a right shoulder injury in training three to four weeks ago that Arum described as similar to the torn rotator cuff that knocked the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant out for the season in January.

Pacquiao’s team requested to have Dr. Yue Yu sit in his corner, but the Nevada Athletic Commission denied that. It also denied a request Pacquiao made just after arriving at the arena to take three anti-inflammatory shots. Chairman Francisco Aguilar said the first time he learned of the injury was when he heard about it from Arum shortly after 6 p.m. [Philippine Time].

The injury may have made a difference, and Pacquiao’s ardent fan base will cling to that thought, but it’s hard to imagine him doing anything substantive to move the needle.

Sports and the Game of Life
In her fascinating book, Confidence, Dr. Kanter explains why she has been drawn to the study of sports.

“Sports has a great deal in common with life – but sports is just a small slice of life.

“In sports, as in political campaigns, courtroom battles or competition for a share of any fixed market, every game produces winners and losers….

“The only good thing about losing is that it sounds an alarm bell. If people hear the wake-up call and heed it, losing can shake them out of complacency and into action – the way a mild heart attack might propel someone to diet and exercise…”

People have different attitudes to failure or loss. Some are optimists, others are pessimists.

Says Kanter: “The decision to build rather than retreat, to rally rather than get discouraged, involves viewing setbacks through an optimistic lens, as an opportunity to learn and move on. Optimists assume that negative events are temporary glitches rather than the permanent state of affairs that pessimists see.”

You have to defeat defeat
In memorable and vivid language, Andy Reid, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in American football, once declared:

“You have to turn a negative into a positive. You have to defeat defeat.”

In the end, it comes down to character. Character is shaped by values. And values can be taught and communicated. The development of character is an integral part in the making of champions in sports.

Pacquiao did not get to where he is without having a startling constitution and character. As surely as night follows day, Manny will emerge from this setback to Mayweather a winner, not only richer but a better man. Or perhaps even a better political leader.

He will not indulge in what Gregg Popovich derisively calls “a pity party,” because then, that would make him truly a loser.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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13 Comments

  1. Emmanuel “MANNY” Dapidran Pacquiao is a LIAR!!! The following website is the SCANNED ACTUAL COPY of the questionnaire given by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC): http://www(DOT)scribd(DOT)com/doc/264163928/Pacquiao-pre-fight-medcal-questionnaire. HE LIED! FRY HIM! HE’S A FOREIGNER TO BOOT. If this had happened in the Philippines to a foreigner, it would be a BIG INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT. ABS-CBN and other Filipino Media would scream is there a conspiracy?
    The Las Vegas Journal Review’s Article on Pacquiao stated, ” Pacquiao was looking to receive a shot of Toradol, an anti-inflammatory drug, before he entered the ring Saturday. But the commission refused to allow the shot to be administered because of what was on the questionnaire.” (SOURCE:https://www(DOT)reviewjournal(DOT)com/sports/boxing/pacquiao-have-surgery-rotator-cuff).
    If he had told the truth, he would have gotten the medication. He lied and so paid the penalty, which he rightfully deserved.
    Manny’s a hypocrite. HE LIED! That’s a big no-no in the faith. God should should smote you for lying. You and your fake faith, it’s all what it is!

  2. It is somewhat difficult to comprehend, how a country can put so much emphasis on a sports personality, with regards to its future moving forward, for purposes unknown to some of us Filipinos.

    Real sports, is a game of chance, where a competitor can or will employ strategies and tactics to ensure a win – such was the case used by Mayweather, he used what Ali had done to succeed as a boxer, if boxing enthusiasts may recall his well known words ‘dances like a butterfly and sting like a bee’. Pacquiao, for his part is the typical entertainer, he went in ablazing, throwing punches to delight his audience, like Fernando Poe with his ‘barabara’. In the end, Mayweather saw opportunities when Pacquiao’s guard is down and picked on his weakness to score points.

    And, there is no comparing between Popovich (Spurs) and Pacquiao, when it comes to expressing their winning or losing, Spurs are a class of their own, who are never willing to attract attention by being controversial and their championships are well earned. While, Pacquiao and his camp is the opposite of Spurs, the more controversies they create the more that they can generate interest – that is where all these media attention can help them thrive on with their business interest.

  3. & before the fight manny said his usual & a lot more about god being on his side, but remember floyd also thanks god for his success in boxing & always praises god, he gave manny praise after the fight, yes he is a betteer christian than manny & im not religious at all, but after the fight not a word about god from manny, hhhmmmm i wonder why.
    Ill let you filipinos into a little secret. Manny didnt deserve that fight with floyd, He hasnt beaten a top 10 welterweight in 4 years if you think he has name him. Lets say bradley, well bradley as a welterweight has only beaten manny pac, he hasnt beaten any other welterweight. Now say jmm, well jmm isnt a welterweight, he is a light welterweight fighting at welterweight for 1 reason & thats to win one last world title at a new weight. & the only welterweight jmm has ever beaten is manny pac.
    Rios hasnt beaten a welterweight well yes ghe did but by dq that was a joke. Then algieri ha ha ha ha what a joke. What a mismatch & ill show you how bad that is, amir khan is now fighting him & filipinos call khan a c class fighter yet they are saying he shouldnt fight algieri as he is cherry picking him ha ha ha ha. so c class fighter khan is cherry picking algieri & yet when manny fought him it was a fair fight, that says you think manny is a c class fighter.
    & ill say this last thing, lets see who manny fights now, will he at least fight a top welterweight like maidana who did much better against floyd than he manny did or will he revert back to fighting light welterweights at welterweight. I think the latter but lets see.
    & you filipinos need to man up & start treating people fair, if you lose take it on the chin manny wasnt cheated out of a win he was outclassed by a far superior boxer, full stop.

  4. Manny has gone further down in my books. He is now a bad loser & seeing a conspiracy in vegas against him. He speaks of not being allowed injections in his shoulder whilst floyd is in his hands. Tam manny made no written request to the board. Doesnt his team know everything has to be in writing so there is a record of it, america isnt the philippines where you do what you like, thay have procedures made to protect all.
    If his shoulder injury is genuine & was that bad irrespective of how much people would lose manny shouldnt have fought but freddie had already put them in a corner saying he didnt think floyd would turn up for the fight as he was scared.
    If you fought with an injured shoulder, do you think for one second any fighter wouldnt notice it & then take advantage of it. Did they think of all the manny fans who would be putting all their money on manny as manny & freddie told thm all they would win & were going for a ko. Freddie told us best training camp ever, manny punching faster than ever ( must have been a lie if he injured his shoulder ) harder than ever ( the same again ) it seems they intentionally misled his fans & couldnt care less about them losing all their money. Go for it manny you will make a good typical filipino politician, you are learning the important things for that job. You filipinos will get what you deserve.

    • you got a lot to say dustin, why do you even care? since when did the Filipinos become your business?

  5. I have a lot of respect for PACMAN even after he lost, I know he give a good fight, but now hearing that he had a shoulder problem and still went ahead with the fight all my respect and admirations went to the toilet, some of us put a lot of our hard earned money on PACMAN. Now does hi handler bet on Mayweather?

  6. “Give me the boy until five, and i will show you the man” Freud
    But put the boy on a rugby pitch at five, and you will train future leaders/winners.

    Playing sport is a foundation for life and moulds character, instils courage and hones competitiveness.
    And whilst winning builds competitiveness, losing reveals character, and coming back stronger displays courage and mental fortitude.
    Sport for all, should be a holistic initiative.

    “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”
    Ernie Banks

    Team sports – and charity work – can carry a lot of weight on a CV. The world has enough MBA’s ( Mediocre Boring Accountants).

    And no surprise that some modern management training and ‘future leader’ courses have moved from the comfort of the conference room to the challenges of outward bound courses, Iron Man competitions, and that team building learns from sports psychology. Sir Alex Ferguson – ex-manager at Manchester United – is now a guest lecturer (and a great story teller!), at Harvard Business School.

    “Boxing is real easy. Life is much harder.”
    Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

    And if all else fails! –
    “Win or lose, we go shopping after the
    election”.
    Imelda Marcos

  7. P.Akialamiro on

    After the hyped, but “boring marathon” megabout, the scoring rules in boxing should include deductions on too much running, clutching and hitting below the belt, after warnings from the referee. On the other hand, aggressiveness and active engagement should be a plus in the scoring. It’s too bad that the aforementioned are are not yet strictly part of the scoring rules.

    As mentioned in his interview with sports commentator, Gray, Mayweather even acknowledged that he and Manny are both winners already even before the fight. Who can ever dispute that with the amount of purse both were guaranted to get?

    Personally, I am one of the exceptions who is not griping about Manny’s loss. I watched the fight and I know he lost. “Inutakan ni ‘May-whatever’ si Manny and Freddie. But, there must be a good reason for his loss.. He should be happy. After all, he is still the “People’s Champ”. And, while still ‘ahead’, it may be time to hang those gloves and…..enjoy!

  8. Manny Pacq is in a pity party. “Conspiracy in Las Vegas!”, Manny Pacq whines.

  9. Paquiao needs more academic knowledge before he can be an effective political and country leader. Unfortunately, Filipinos vote for illiterate actors, famous dumbs, scammers and plunderers.

  10. joe saldana on

    enjoyed your article. i’m totally in agreement with you. although a manny fan, i felt that mayweather was the better fighter saturday night. here in los angeles manny is extremely popular. that said, manny should take a page from popovich’s book. be humble, gracious, and remain proud. a minor bump on the road of life. no big thing. i’ll continue to pray for manny at sunday mass. he is a good man!

  11. Roldan Guerrero on

    The two boxers are totally different. The first one loves his profession very much such that he made it his sole career in all his life as a profesional boxer. Although he is descrived as a braggart being so vocal and talkative mostly resorting to defaming his opponent, that is one of his styles to achieve victory which he well proved in his very clean 47 and all record. The other man, who is a media freak known to be very humble and man of God, who preaches everywhere, I should say in my own, is just pretending, Why? the olds and intellectuals say: Your true color shows with the kind of people you get along with. HIS BEST FRIEND not to mention his name is known a hoodlum, a gambler, a womanizer, a traitor and a man known to have enriched himself through illegal means. this man loves to mesh with things and activities designed only for the intellectuals, he made his conggressional title as a sideline, depriving his constituenta who are waiting for his services. He does not attend his very important sessions in congress but is there preparing for his fight for price. We all know his activities which he thinks being rich is a sufficient passport to meddle and mess everything he likes disregarding lack of sufficient education as the most important element. Mayweather deserves the victory and more to be called the best not only of his unblemished record compared to Pacquiao`s very dirty record, 2 of which he was carried unconcious out of the ring but because of his love of his profession.

  12. I am writing from America, but about 2 weeks ago I was in the Philippines for the first time in my life. It was a tremendous experience for me.

    Everywhere I went there was Manny-mania…..I was so impressed, that a country could have such a beautiful personality and spokesman.

    I am not much of a boxing fan any more, but I certainly found myself supporting Manny and my new Filipino friends.

    But there is another side to my story. In the middle of last week I saw Manny do a little video on behalf of the country Nepal. He quoted a verse from God’s word that was very comforting.

    My country is Nepal. This is where I was born, and my roots are. Thank you Manny Pacquaio for speaking out for the country that has experienced calamity.

    You will always be a winner in my book.