I was crushed.

My heart bleeds for Pacquiao and his recent defeat against Morales.

I was rooting heavily on Pacquiao to win not because I am a Pinoy (well, to a certain extent, yes) but because I believe in him. He is, as the HBO commentators attest, a warrior. A poor boy from the South who, yet according to the commentators (in digging up some facts as prep for the main event), peddled yosi in the streets of Manila to make both ends meet. He boxed to survive. His passion to box is for life itself. I suppose all boxers are. Mike Tyson was a lawbreaker and a high school kickout in the Bronx before he was plucked from a youth institution to box; Cassius Clay had to learn how to box to reclaim his stolen squeeky bike, which he used to pedal blocks away from his small house to school to become Muhammad Ali; Sugar Ray Leonard had to win boxing matches to defer rising medical bills incurred by his ailing dad; Joe Frazier worked his ass off working in a squalid slaughterhouse to support his own family after getting married at the age of 15! He boxed at nights after work in a local gym to earn bets for extra cash.

Pacquiao is no different. He was poor and used it as a motivation to win boxing matches. And despite his new found millions and fame, I saw on TV how he shares his money with the poor and remains rooted in his past, faith, and values. How can one not throw in all possible support to such character?

And so with every jab, punch, blow, hit, nudge, strike, and thrust on Pacquiao's cut, bruised, and bloodied face translated to a heavy wince, cringe, and recoil from Pinoys; And all offensives against Morales became moments of pride and respect to a poor guy from the South who shouldered and burdened upon himself the same pride and respect of an equally poor nation on a battle ground in a foreign land (how profound can I possibly get?).

Never mind if I stayed up late to catch the match. Never mind if it was a $50 pay-per-view TV special. Never mind if I stood witness to a 12-round gorefest (I grew up watching WWF, anyway). Never mind if I ended up with a hoarse voice (from shouting my lungs out) and in a depressed state-of-mind.

It was all worth it. I will sleep tonight as I did after Pacquiao's matches with Ledwaba, Barrera, Marquez, and Fahsan: Proud to be Pinoy!

Pacquiao is a true warrior; A source of pride. And in my book, he is a winner, a champion.