Freeman Cebu Sports

Patience is a Virtue

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Good things come to those who wait.

This proved true for Cebuano gastroenterologist Vicente “Inting” Avanzado, Jr., who had long been wanting to personally meet his boxing idol Manny Pacquiao.

His first best chance came after Pacquiao’s brutal and bloody ring war against Puerto Rican great Antonio Margarito on November 14, 2000 before a delighted crowd of 41,734 at the sprawling Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA.

Delivering a spectacular performance in a blockbuster showdown billed as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” Pacquiao dominated the bigger but slower Margarito to win the WBC super welterweight championship via a lopsided unanimous decision over 12 grueling rounds.

Pacquiao, then 30 years old and congressman of Sarangani Province, prevailed round after round, opening a cut on Margarito’s cheek, closing his right eye, and turning his face into a bloody mess.

Unfortunately, Doc Inting didn’t get a chance to meet the ring icon face-to-face as Pacquiao was too injured from that tough battle that he could not make it to his customary meet-and-greet session with fans the day after the bout.

“My husband, a super fan, was disappointed but he remained hopeful that one day he will be able to truly meet the man and the myth,” Doc Inting’s better half, Grace, wrote in an emotionally-charged Facebook post.

Now that a golden opportunity came their way, they did not let it slip out of their hands.

Last Sunday, November 14, exactly 11 years to the day he was missed out on seeing Pacquaio, Doc Inting finally came face-to-face with the only eight-division world champion in boxing history.

Pacquiao, who is barnstorming the country in preparation for the May 2022 elections, was in town last week o grace a series of events.

Not only was the super fan able to hobnob and pose for photos with Pacquiao, Doc Inting was also able to have a part of his plethora of Pacquiao collections signed by the man himself during their memorable and meaningful encounter.  His Team and even Pacquiao himself were unaware that some of the items – like those Commemorative Stamps from 2008 and a Comic Book on his life in English – existed and they seemed genuinely astonished.

“I became a fan of Pacquiao because I know he is good man and has a special God-given talent,” shared Doc Inting.

 “When I finally had the chance to see him up close, I was so star-struck that I called him Manny so casually and forgot to properly address him as a Senator,” he added in jest. But people who are close to him tell me he is not status-conscious and that in itself reminds us of how humble he remains till now.

It was Doc Inting’s wife who suggested that he wear the same shirt he wore to that eventful Margarito bout when the lucky opportunity to meet him finally came.

“It took 11 Years but it was worth it,” said Grace Avanzado. “So thank you to everyone who made this happen. That shirt has only been worn twice so far and it was actually SMP who told Inting: “Pirmahan gyud ko na” and then proceeded to sign part of his extensive collection while encouraging us to bring more of it the next time we meet! He was also the one who got my husband’s phone to take a selfie. Two men, from totally different backgrounds, united in love for this sport.Good Things come to those who wait has never proved truer than in this story I share today.”

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