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Boxing: Clash of the Titans
Mexico's Morales succumbs to Pacquiao
Alex Argote (alexphil)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-20 11:46 (KST)   
A resounding roar of triumph can be felt thundering from all corners of the Philippines archipelago today. From the southernmost islands to the northernmost coastal communities, where there are television sets most Filipinos momentarily forgot their daily worries and cheered in jubilation as their national champion, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, finally routed Erik "El Terrible" Morales in the Grand Finale match in Las Vegas.

The bout between the two champions was the conclusion of a dramatic and much talked about trilogy in the Philippine and Mexican boxing worlds. Both countries share some history, having been Spanish colonies until the late 19th century.

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Adored by their countrymen in their respective countries, Pacquiao and Morales have been battling each other in the ring for two exciting years, with almost fanatic Filipino and Mexican fans rooting for their champions. Embittered by a unanimous decision that declared Morales the victor in the first fight, Pacquiao worked and prayed hard to regain honor, for himself and for the entire Filipino people, in the second match last March. He defeated Morales in the second battle with a TKO to the deafening cheers of hero-seeking Filipinos.

Pacquiao, the mighty ring warrior who hails from the war-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao, holds virtually the entire Filipino nation enthralled with his lightning "fists of fire" that have vanquished and dashed into pieces many an aspiring pugilists' dreams. We Filipinos stand in awe of this valiant fighter who in his own big way lifted our nation's spirit despite the multitude of problems blighting our graft- and corrupt-ridden country. We almost see him as the epitome of a god-like being. Even politicians, from the lowliest bureaucrat to the present lodger in the Malacanang Palace [the president's official residence], trip over each other in their efforts to gain electoral favors from being in the presence of the people's champion.

The Morales-Pacquiao rivalry added color to the much-awaited grand finale of the boxing trilogy and even caught the attention of the sports world. The months leading up to the final clash were busy ones for local television outfits broadcasting to millions of Filipino fans the tough training regimen that Pacquiao endured in preparation for the make or break last battle. The same is true for Morales, who trained in the highlands of Mexico.

So great is the Filipinos' faith in Pacquiao that as the final day got closer, many gambling inclined Filipinos placed their bets not on who would win but on how many rounds Morales would fight before being knocked-out by Pacman.

Finally, early Sunday afternoon, the two boxing titans were seen on millions of pay-per-view connected televisions by wild and ecstatic Filipinos who stopped whatever they were doing lest they miss a very important event in their lives.

It was to be a moment of shock for Morales, as well as for many hapless bettors who wrongly calculated that the Mexican would go two or three rounds longer before falling to oblivion. The mighty fists of Pacman ended the battle in less than three rounds of heroic ringside carnage as his terrifying punches sent Morales reeling. He was soon demoralized.

The Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, where the two prominent pugilists met, was packed with an overflowing crowd of close to 20,000 spectators, who bought expensive tickets to witness this event.

As if to underscore the interests of both boxers' countries, the national anthems of both the Philippines and Mexico were sung before the much-anticipated ringside rumble commenced. Not to be outdone, an American non-commissioned Air Force officer also sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

Early in the fight, as the two tested the waters, Pacquiao decided to take the offensive, aiming persistently for the head and body of Morales in the hope of gaining an early advantage.

With so much at stake, it was no surprise that both warriors fought hard. The Filipino boxer soon unleashed a flurry of jabs and counter punches against Morales before the Mexican could even regain his bearing and put up an effective defense.

Pacquiao couldn't allow Morales to maneuver, and he attacked relentlessly, never holding back lest his opponent rally at the critical moment. Pacquiao started to hit really hard in the second round, causing Morales to slightly lose balance and lean on the ring.

In the third round, Pacquiao launched a fierce offensive, bombarding the already reeling Morales with punches as Filipinos cheered and roared with approval.

Another barrage of punches finally put Morales down hard on the canvas, where he sat dazed in resignation, surrendering his crown to Pacquiao.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Alex Argote

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