Few would call it a comeback, even though a lot of us waxed nostalgic when you retired, or supposedly retired. Even fewer would call it must-see TV, since you no longer command the same amount of adulation you once did. You used to be that hero we all stopped everything for. We could be in the middle of running errands, but we'd rush our way home when the main event was about to start. We could be drunk out of our asses from a late night Saturday bender and we'd still remember to set our alarm clocks for the next day, worried that we'd miss you knockout some poor sucker with that devastating left hand of yours.
But now? Most of us don't even know who you're going to be fighting.
This is where you are now, Manny Pacquiao. You have devolved from a Goliath-conquering national hero to a complete afterthought in the eyes of your people, all because you can't get your priorities in order.
When you promised you'd retire from boxing because you wanted to completely focus on your political career, close to 18 million voters took your word for it and voted you into the Senate. I didn't vote for you, but I accepted the result, albeit with a dose of skepticism.
But you couldn’t stay away from the ring, could you? I don’t know if it’s the fame, money, glory, or a combination of all three, but what happened to putting your complete focus on being a senator? And you’re wondering why we don’t seem to care about your fights anymore?
The truth is, there are a multitude of reasons your popularity has declined. It could be because people experienced so much fatigue from the fallout of the Floyd Mayweather megafight—a fight, by the way, that flopped just as bad as Wapakman.
It could also be because you haven't completely washed the stain away from the homophobic epithet you spewed back in February that not only cost you your endorsers, but turned you into a pariah in the eyes of the tolerant, decent human beings that walk this planet.
Or it could be as simple as you not keeping your word, when it was those very same words that people latched on to when they shaded that circle opposite your name during the elections.
You may end up beating Jessie Vargas on November 5 in Las Vegas. In your last fight against Timothy Bradley, you proved that your boxing skills had not eroded. Great. Congratulations. But don't expect us to keep rooting for you just because you're capable of putting on a show. Don’t expect a hero's welcome anymore, either. Those days of toasting your victories inside the boxing ring are all over.
A lot of us probably won't watch your fight, let alone pray in all earnestness that you walk out of that ring with your hands raised. You can spin the narrative of this fight or rationalize it all you want about bringing pride to the country, but we're not buying it anymore. We hold you to a different standard now, and it's your responsibility to live up to the very same standards you promised to give us. That's your reality now, dear Senator.
Here's another truth, PacMan, unfiltered and uncensored. We'll never care about your boxing career the way we used to. At this moment, while this country is in some form of political unrest, the only thing we care about are the contributions you make in the Senate.
You always piped about fighting for your people, right? Well, your "fights" aren't supposed to be in the boxing ring anymore. Your fights are now in the Senate.
For better or worse, that's where we want you to compete. Whether we voted for you or not, that's where we'd like to see you succeed. That's where we'd like to see you become a champion.