Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pacquiao-Margarito: What We Can Learn From The Humility, Empathy, and Grace of Manny Pacquiao

Another Pacquiao fight — another drubbing of a much larger opponent, and Pacquaio’s legend as a boxer grows. But the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito produced not just a memorable pay-per-view experience worth every penny of the $64.95 it cost — it produced, for this observer at least, some moments of clarity that helped me better understand what makes the Filipino “National Fist” so much more than just a great athlete.

The True Tale of How the Fight Unfolded, and How Pacquaio Had to Fight Through Early Adversity to Gain Control

First, if you didn’t see the fight but have read about it, you probably have read that Pacquiao dominated; that he won every round or almost every round; that he cut Margarito to shreds so much so that everyone, including Pacquaio, had legitimate concerns about Margarito’s health and whether the fight should continuing the later rounds. That rendition of the fight is accurate up to a point — but it fails to capture the genuine peril that Pacquaio faced in the early rounds, the genuine threat that Margarito represented, and thus the challenge that Pacquiao overcame to prevail against Margarito–a fighter who was in the best shape of his life and weighed 165 to Pacquiao’s 148 on fight night–an advantage of not just 17 lbs but 12% of of body weight–a Goliath to Pacquiao’s David and a disgraced Mexican warrior on an epic quest for redemption  Could Margarito have been more prepared or more motivated?  I don’t see how.  That’s what Pacquiao was up against.

Think it was easy for Pacquiao? Think again. As the fight began, Emmanuel Steward, hall of fame trainer and normally shrewd commentator for HBO said: “I see the size difference — it’s a big factor right now. I see he’s not used to punching at a man as big as this one who seems to be absorbing his blows pretty easily.” Then there was Margarito’s jab — a new weapon — that was touching Pacquiao up in the first round. Steward: “What I’m surprised about is Margarito’s jab, which is a very good move, and that seems at this stage to be the most dominant punch in the fight.” A few moments later, with a minute to go in the first round, Steward said of Pacquaio: “He may have a problem tonight — the physical size seems to be a big factor.” By the time the first round ended Pacquiao had thrown enough punches to  win the round — but just barely, and the sense was that he could be in trouble, that he finally might have bitten off more than he could chew. The jab was a problem, the size difference was a problem, and Margarito–a notoriously slow starter–might get stronger as the fight wore on.

In the early part of the second round Max Kellerman — another normally astute boxing analyst and commentator, had this to say: “Margarito has landed not only some shots but a head butt followed by a right hand — these are hard shots from a big man.”   This prompted Steward to repeat: “The size is being a big factor as I see it right here.” Then, after Pacquiao mounted a flurry that didn’t seem to hurt Margarito, Jim Lampley said: “The loss of power from punching up could be a factor in the fight” – meaning that Margarito’s height advantage was causing Pacquiao to punch skyward and this was taking power out of the punches. Then with 10 seconds to go in round 2, Steward said: “Looking at the eyes, Pacquiao is much more uncomfortable than Margarito is at this stage even though he may be winning the fight.” Lampley: “Brand new experience for Pacquiao.”

Easy fight?

And that was how it felt after the first two rounds. But as he has so often in the past, Pacquiao — guided by the man he calls his “master” Freddie Roach — gradually began to solve the Margarito puzzle and find ways to use his astonishing hand speed, footwork, head movement, and ring savvy to start slicing his opponent, most notably opening a cut under Margarito’s right eye that almost immediately began to swell, causing the eye to almost close. [[Comment: Margarito went straight to the hospital after the fight and it was determined is orbital bone was broken.]] From there Manny gained the upper hand but even after the cut had begun a problem, there were some nerve wracking moments, notably in the 6th round when Margarito got Pacquaio against the ropes and hit him with a huge left to the liver that buckled Pacquiao’s knees.  Later, and more than once, he rocked Manny with uppercuts, most notably one in the 8th round that clearly hurt.

Yet in spite of being hurt more than once, Pacquaio dominated; he repeatedly landed power punches that soon had Margarto’s entire face swollen and bleeding and yet Margarito — to his credit as a warrior if not a sensible human — refused to go down and refused to stop.

By the 10th round there was ample reason to stop the fight–and Pacquaio glanced at the referee more than once as if to ask, “Shouldn’t you end this?”, and his look was one of concern, not bravado and dismissiveness. Steward at that point commented that while the referee had every reason to stop the fight–he wouldn’t because Margarito was still demonstrating his grit by throwing punches even though he could hardly see and his punches no longer had snap or power to them.  To which Kellerman said, rightly: “It’s not about his eyes, it’s about his brain — how many power punches flush to the head can a man take?”   And indeed,  by the end, the compu-box figures that Pacquaio had landed a disturbing 401 power punches to Margarito’s head — and who knows when the damage from that kind of beating will present itself.

Margarito on his stool between the 11th and 12th rounds looked more like Rocky Balboa in the original “Rocky” than any real fight most of us have ever seen —  both eyes almost swollen shut, punch drunk, but demanding that he be allowed to continue, to finish it.  All that was missing was Margarito yelling “cut me” to make it a complete reprise of Hollywood’s epic and amped up vision of the outclassed warrior willing to risk everything to go the distance.   There he was,  insisting through his mangled features that he wanted to fight one more round, to make it to the end, and his corner let him do it–a decision that honored Margarito’s epic courage but placed him in epic danger.

And then it was the 12th round, with Margarito out on his feet and all but defenseless, game but beaten.   There was every reason to believe that Pacquaio, hungry for the KO that would put the exclamation point on his performance, would swarm Margarito and either drop him at last,  or mount a swarming,  blistering final assault that would leave the referee with no choice but to stop it.

But that didn’t happen.

Grace in the 12th Round

The first sign that something special was about to happen came during the traditional touching of gloves before the last round. Pacquiao touched them up, but went a step further — giving a deep nod to Margarito – a salute — and then, as if to make sure the salute was understood, he touched his right glove one more time to Margarito’s — stepped back, crossed himself, and began to “fight” — but not quite.  For the first 30 seconds of the round Pacquiao, who had been throwing power punches at a rate of one every five seconds of the entire fight,  threw only two tentative punches that wouldn’t have hurt a fly, circling Margarito instead of engaging with him.  Pacquiao threw his third punch – an inconsequential jab, 40 seconds into the round –thus three inconsequential punches 1/4 of the way through the final round, when by simple “average” punch count Pacquaio would by then have normally thrown at least 25 punches. 

Something was up. At 45 seconds into the round, Lampley was the first commentator to realize what was happening and comment on it: “Max, I honestly wonder whether Pacquiao has no more stomach for the punishment. He doesn’t seem eager to hit Margarito any more.” Kellerman: “It looks like he’s carrying Margarito right now.” Steward: “It’s much like Joe Calzaghe did…” Lampley: “Some of the greatest fighters in history have done this. There is no question Pacquiao is pulling his punches now. He is not following through and committing the way he does……it’s a nod to Margarito’s guts and courage…and Pacquaio is going to let him finish the fight.” And then Lampley capped it off — no doubt with some hyperbole — but then Pacquiao invites, and deserves, hyperbole: “This is not Manny Pacquaio the fighter, this is Manny Pacquiao the Congressman, Manny Pacquiao the cultural icon, Manny Pacquiao the citizen of the world. That’s the man who’s letting Margarito finish.”

Humility, Empathy, and Candor in the Post Fight Interviews

As the fight ended Pacquaio knelt in his corner in prayer as is his custom. I’ve watched Pacquiao do this and each time I’m struck by his body language as he prays – the intensity with which he clutches his gloves to his head,  blocking out the crowd, the arena, the chaos around him creating what clearly must be a profound moment of heartfelt religious communion.  And then, moments later as the championship belt was draped over his shoulders, a smiling Pacquiao immediately looked around for his crucifix – found it dangling from the hand of a handler, then immediately leaned forward,  head bowed, placing it around his neck.

And then a gracious and amazingly (yet typically) humble post fight interview with Max Kellerman who started by saying: “Manny, that was a pretty big guy you just beat up – what was that like?” Pacquiao: “It’s hard, I really …I mean ….I did my best to win the fight….he’s strong….a very tough fighter. And I can’t believe it.” Kellerman: “What can’t you believe?” Pacquiao: “I mean, he’s very tough and strong and I never expect that.” Who ever heard a boxer be so candid and so humble after such a victory?  What other boxer’s ego would allow such statements?

Then Kellerman drilled down a bit, noting that Pacquiao had gotten his back to the ropes and had a few tough moments in the fight, ending it with “Why was your back on the ropes.” Pacquiao: “Well, I’m trying to psyche him that I’m not hurt, but the truth is — he’s really strong and I got hurt.” Full stop — again, when did a winning boxer ever admit so openly to getting hurt?  Kellerman: “When did you get hurt?” Pacquiao: “When I stayed on the rope.” Kellerman: “Where did you get hurt?” Pacquiao: “In the body and in the face. He got me in the uppercut, so … I am so lucky tonight.” And later, in his second interview: “I tell you the truth. I got hurt in the body shot, I tell you, I got ..I felt so weak in that round because I got really hurt in my stomach.”  [[Comment: Two days later, on Monday, there were media reports that Pacquiao had canceled a TMZ appearance due to rib and torso pain--and watching the replay of the shot in question, it was apparent that the blow almost dropped Pacquiao to the canvas, and that he struggled mightily to regain weather the storm it caused.]]

Kellerman then asked — what were you asking the referee to do when you looked toward him in the 11th round (presumably imploring him to stop the fight). Pacquiao: “You know, I feel….pity to my opponent…his eyes, his bloody face, you know — take a look for that.”  Later, in another interview, Pacquiao was more direct:  ”Boxing is not about killing each other. It’s about entertainment.”

Kellerman: “In the 12th round it looked like maybe you were backing off, maybe not to hurt him”: “I’m not looking for a knockout. I want to finish the round. My trainer said take it easy, win the round, just be careful.” Now this is interesting because on the surface it sounds like Manny was just following Roach’s instructions–and indeed I have no doubt that Roach gave the instructions Manny describes. But I think there is something else going on here — he didn’t want to “dis” his opponent by saying that he intentionally let up. Instead, he just left it that his corner told him to win the round and be careful. But everything from the salute to Margarito at the beginning to Manny’s demeanor throughout the round confirms that he was, indeed, “carrying” Margarito to the finish line, giving the warrior his due in the process.

The interview finished with Pacquiao saying: “That’s all I can give. I’m trying to make people happy.” For a boxer to say “I want to make people happy” seems overly simplistic on one level — but when you think of where Pacquiao comes from — not just the Philippines, but the mean streets of the Philippines, a place of grinding poverty where there is no escape and where hope is often all but extinguished — the power to “make people happy” is a power that means more than producing a transitory moment of enjoyment. It’s an ability to fundamentally alter that state of mind and heart for people – to lift them up and make them feel that there’s hope, and good things are possible in a tough unfriendly world. For Manny Pacquiao, to “make people happy” is something far more profound and meaningful than it would be if the same statement were coming from an American boxer.

Asked about his next moves, Pacquaio replied: “That’s why …. I have another job after this, I’m going back to the Philippines and do my job as a public servant — and I want to help people.” Honestly — much of the time when Pacquiao speaks English you have the feeling that he’s groping for words, that he could be much more articulate in Tagalog — and yet there is a simple clarity to his choice of words — ‘do my job as a public servant’ and ‘I want to help people’. How can you not believe he is sincere — and humble. He’s not just a “public servant” – he’s a congressman, and rightly proud of that. But he always chooses to refer to himself by the term “public servant”, not “Congressman”. There’ is genuine humility–and perhaps a touch of political genius– in that.

The Last Word

Those of us who are connected to the Philippines have followed Manny Pacquiao for many years and we’ve heard him say things like this, and act in this humble, gentle manner — so this in itself is not news for us. But as his fame grows and the rest of the world gradually wakes up and takes notice of Pacquaio as a sporstman who transcends national boundaries and the niche of boxing, hearing him speak this way reminds us that while on the one hand what we see in Manny is unique, in another way it is not, because what is on display when Pacquiao speaks is essential Filipino values that typify the elusive best of a country whose people’s humble and gentle virtues are not particularly well understood abroad. This is, after all, a world where, for example, some cultures have adopted the term “filipina” to be slang for “housekeeper”.

The truth is, it’s easy for ignorant westerners to underestimate and misinterpret the gentle, gracious nature of the Filipino character — yet somehow Manny Pacquaio is singlehandedly changing that, teaching the world and reminding the Philippine universe that humility, grace, compassion, and empathy can coexist with the heart of a warrior.

Yet even if Filipinos instinctively understand the meaning of Manny Pacquiao better than we foreigners — they have been traveling on a learning curve with Pacquaio as well.  Remember that Pacquaio’s popularity in the Philippines, great as it is, did not automatically win him a berth in Congress. He ran previously,  two years ago and lost badly. Some said the loss reflected what was in essence a cynical “no” vote from an electorate who wanted him to keep fighting;  others inerpreted the “no” as a desire keep Pacquiao from becoming tarnished by the dirty nature of Philippine politics.  Pacquao lost, and it wasn’t a split decision — it was much closer to a political knockout.  But he didn’t give up, he showed patience and sincerity and above all perserverence, and throughout it all he continued to talk compellingly about his real reasons for doing it — and along the way many of the skeptics who saw in his first run for Congress a questionable act of celebrity ego began to gradually come to understand that it was another impulse, the impulse toward genuine and sincere public service, that was driving Pacquiao.   And so now he has the position he sought — the position of “public servant”, and he has stated that his goal is to become a “champion of public service” as his life transitions toward a new phase. Boxing has been his vehicle to “make people happy” in one profound, “let me lift you up” way that Filipinos perhaps understand better than the rest of us. That phase will end.

But now, today, he is an elected Congressman who through both his boxing and public service has truly has made millions of people happy in that transcendant way he seeks–so truly and so beautifully that the skinny kid who grew up on the streets may well someday have the opportunity to lead not just an impoverished Sarangani province, but an entire resurgent nation that with Pacquaio as example-maker-in-chief–a long-suffering and self doubting country that under his inspired leadership may lift itself up as a country in ways that would be just as surprising, yet just as inevitable, as Pacquaio’s rise to the top in boxing.

I for one believe in Manny Pacquiao–his heart, his sincerity, the sheer power of his will, and the true Filipino essence of his character.  He makes me feel hope for the future of the Philippines, and proud to be part of a Fil-Am household that has plenty of Filipino blood flowing through our family’s veins.

Source: http://michaeldsellers.weearth.com/2010/11/14/pacquiao-margarito-what-we-can-learn-from-the-humility-empathy-and-grace-of-manny-pacquiao/

. . . . .

Sunday, November 07, 2010

"How to give yourself cancer in five easy steps"

Following with our ever-popular series on "How to Get Disease," this article discusses how to give yourself a raging case of cancer. It could be breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer or even something like leukemia. By following the instructions in this article, you can give yourself almost any form of cancer desirable and if you pursue these strategies to their fullest potential, you could end up with several different forms of cancer all at once. So, let's get started and learn how to give yourself cancer.

If you're aiming for a raging case of cancer, the first thing you've got to do is start consuming food ingredients that actually promote cancer. One of the most powerful cancer-promoting food ingredients of all is called sodium nitrate. This is an ingredient that is added to virtually all packaged meat products including hot dogs, pepperoni, ham, lunchmeat and other similar products. You'll also find it in bacon, sausages and most breakfast meats. It's listed right on the ingredients labels of all of these foods. In order to find sodium nitrate, all you have to do is walk around the grocery store, read the ingredients labels of various packaged meat products and purchase those products that contain it. Then, consume them on a frequent basis and before long, you will greatly increase your odds of being diagnosed with cancer.

There are other ingredients that are suspected of causing cancer. These include hydrogenated oils, aspartame, saccharin and artificial colors, to name a few. A diet that is very high in refined carbohydrates has also been clinically shown to increase your odds of being diagnosed with cancer, so be sure to get plenty of these foods in your pro-cancer diet. That means chowing down on white bread, sweetened breakfast cereals, white fluffy pancakes, candy bars, granola bars, cookies, crackers and sweets of all kinds.

The next thing you can do to give yourself cancer is one of the more obvious things: take up a smoking habit. The more you smoke, the more likely you are to get cancer, especially if you're eating cancer-causing foods and ingredients as discussed above. By smoking, you will multiply the carcinogenic effect of everything else in your life. Before long, you will succeed in your goal at being diagnosed with cancer.

If you'd like to move things along a little more quickly, you can also stay out of all sunlight and use plenty of sun block and sunscreen any time you go outside. This will prevent natural sunlight from touching your skin. Now, how will this give you cancer? It turns out that natural sunlight is powerful prevention for cancer. People who get plenty of natural sunlight have a greatly reduced risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, breast cancer and many other disorders that aren't cancer-related such as osteoporosis and mental depression. By staying out of the sun or using sun block and sunscreen every time you're under the sun, you can prevent your body from preventing cancer, thereby giving yourself a much greater risk for cancer with each passing day. If you find it difficult to avoid the sun, just get a night shift job where you work all night and sleep all day. That's a hugely successful pro-cancer strategy.

Another thing you can do is avoid all physical exercise. It turns out that moving your body helps you prevent cancer. Part of the reason is that body movement moves lymph fluid around, and this is an important function of your immune system that fights cancerous cells. If you refrain from all body movement, you will hamper your body's ability to fight off cancer, thereby further increasing your odds of being diagnosed with this chronic disease.

One thing to keep in mind in all of this is that everybody has cancer right now. In other words, there are cancerous cells in the human body of every person who is living and breathing right now, at this very moment. All you have to do to get diagnosed with cancer is make sure your immune system is sufficiently suppressed so that your body can't take care of the cancerous cells on a regular basis. In other words, if you destroy your immune system function through poor nutrition, nutrient depletion, smoking, lack of sunlight and lack of physical exercise, then it won't be able to do its job of cleaning up cancerous cells around the body and as a result, cancer will become a full-blown disease in no time.

In fact, all of these strategies for giving yourself cancer have one thing in common: the suppression of your natural immune system. Now, if you've been following along and you don't have cancer yet from doing everything mentioned here, and you want to increase your odds even further, the very best thing you can do is actually get chemotherapy or radiation therapy. All you have to do is go to an oncologist and tell them that you think you have cancer, and they may find some reason to put you on chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These therapies do such an outstanding job of destroying the human immune system that you might find yourself experiencing multiple cases of cancer at various sites throughout your body in the subsequent months and years. Chemotherapy is perhaps the most effective method known to modern science for destroying the human immune system other than working at Chernobyl during a nuclear accident. So, if you’re looking to contract cancer as quickly as possible, make sure that you get chemotherapy into your life as early as you can.

By combining all of these strategies, you should be able to give yourself cancer without much effort on your part and without having to wait too long. After all, it would be a shame to die from natural causes and not have the opportunity to "invest" in the R&D efforts of pharmaceutical companies who peddle anti-cancer drugs.

Are you crazy?
You might be asking me, "Why on earth am I writing an article that tells people how to give themselves cancer?" The answer is because virtually all Americans are following this plan right now, today. They are giving themselves cancer step by step by using precisely the detailed plan that I have outlined here. And when they are suddenly diagnosed with cancer, they have a puzzled look on their faces and ask, "Gee, why do I have cancer?" The answer is because they've been following the cancer plan as outlined in this article -- all the foods they've eaten, their lifestyle choices, lack of exercise, lack of sunlight, smoking habits and reliance on chemotherapy and other radical western medical procedures has, in fact, accelerated their cancer and put them in the position they're in today.

All I've really done here in this article is described the plan most Americans are already following. This is the pro-cancer plan that's actually promoted by brand-name food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and most of conventional medicine. For example, how many doctors are still screaming for people to avoid sunlight like it was the plague? Practically all of them, last time I checked. It's almost as if the entire medical community actually wanted the population to get cancer. Sadly, the entire anti-cancer campaign of conventional medicine seems to be limited to three words: "Don't smoke tobacco."

Of course, most individuals aren't really interested in contracting cancer. They'd rather prevent cancer or even reverse cancer, and now after learning how to give yourself cancer, the process for avoiding that is fairly straightforward: don't do any of the things that have been mentioned in this article. That is, avoid smoking; get plenty of sunlight; get outstanding nutrition and avoid all food ingredients that are known to promote cancer such as sodium nitrite, hydrogenated oils, refined carbohydrates and chemical additives. Also avoid chemotherapy since it is the most powerful way we know of to destroy the human immune system, thereby leaving you more vulnerable to cancer.

I present this information as a unique way to get the point across to people that if they don't want to have cancer in their lifetimes, they need to get off the cancer plan and get on to a plan that actually prevents this terrible disease.

Source: http://bit.ly/bfx2YD
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .