The reign did fall
Lito A. Tacujan (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - Watching the nation’s greatest fighter shedding piece by mortal piece the invincibility that once made him the best in the world, the singular source of its pride and joy, makes it doubly hard to accept his defeat to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane.

The loss was galling as much as it was heart-breaking.

Manny Pacquiao’s face streaming with blood from two gaping head cuts was the lasting image beamed on LED screens around the world.

Suddenly he was bereft of the aura of immortality which his diehard fans loved to feed on to craft legendary tales and heroic sagas.

 He simply unraveled.

The once mercurial prince of prizefight, was slow and vulnerable. He seemed to age at the end of every round, smarting from torrid blows inflicted by the ever pressing challenger.

“Very tough, I didn’t realize it was that tough,” Pacman said.

It was a case of a bull-strong upstart firing away with right hand leads at a struggling champ trying to survive the onslaught in one of the biggest upsets in fight history.

What ever happened to Pacman? Where were the gut-spilling passion and bizarre desire to hurt and maim, that instinct to separate an opponent from his senses that was long missing in his portfolio of wins?

The “Battle of Brisbane” had no frills of a morality play but it sure manifested some bitter lessons on this most humbling of sports, like time and age are of the essence.

While the 29-year-old Horn worked out in virtual seclusion, the fighting senator, 38, basked in the limelight and glare of pre-fight hype.

The durable former schoolteacher kept the pressure throughout except in the ninth round where he took in all the fury from the champ’s two-fisted offensive.

Otherwise, it was the Australian show all the way that put in perspective where the eight-division champ’s distinguished career is headed to.

There is a rematch clause in the fight contract but with the kind of confidence, fame and fortune this victory has brought Horn, the  Filipino champ may go through the same 12 rounds of punishment and mayhem.

It will be, as the song goes,  “twice the heartache, twice the pain.”

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