Tough times, everyone. It's been a rough 24 hours. Maybe it's high time to let it all out and acknowledge the many traumatic things we bear deep down.
The feeling of culpability, for putting a nation’s worth of expectations on your shoulders; for spoiling ourselves with the thought of you never having to succumb to any opponent, at least in such devastating fashion. Decline defines a prizefighter’s legacy just as much as triumphs, and while the country continues to see you as a generation-defining athlete, guilt surrounds us for even thinking that you may not have it anymore. Because you clearly still do. Even Marquez apparently still has it, and that’s a guy who went through a barrage of losses in recent years.
The genuine feeling of anxiety and apprehension, having seen a man of devout status drop to the canvass in such disturbing manner. A split-second lapse of judgment on our behalf prompted us to inaccurately call it a last-second low blow. As you lay motionless face first on the mat, senseless speculations sufficed – that you went on a coma, in hiding, and worse, dead. That’s a knockout loss unfit for a national hero, or for any human being, for that matter.
The feeling of relief; for the country to finally be able to get past the inevitable decline of a deep space rollercoaster ride of global regard. The nation indisputably share the pressure brought about by your boxing perfection, often making us wonder when the whole shebang of success will slow down. Characteristically cynical of us Filipinos, we know, but a Marquez loss is one less thorn off everyone’s backs.
The feeling of dismay and regret, as a blockbuster fight with Floyd Mayweather is suddenly of very little significance to the world at this very moment. It burns to see people now think of you as damaged goods, having been on the wrong end of a knockout of a lifetime, but it is what it is. It scuttles what would have been the richest fight in boxing history, and a fight against Floyd would generate far less interest on everyone's behalf and far less money on yours.
The unsettling feeling of vulnerability, knowing that we could not possibly hold erroneous scoring or unmerited judging responsible for this loss this time around. No conspiracies to rely on, no justifiable hate towards the enemy. No Onyok Velasco or Timothy Bradley fiascos. All is concluded in fair fashion – Marquez stood his ground against Manny Pacquiao fair and square. At the end of the day, the world will forever hold Juan Manuel Marquez as the superior fighter, even though we spent the last seven years believing otherwise. It is not a passing of the torch; no young and promising upstarts to blame - it is merely the truth being realized rather late.