Timing could not have come at a better time when wearied and burdened Pinoys from the political storm in Manila witnessed Manny Pacquiao emerge as a salvation-in-flesh with his stunning triumph against Hector Velazquez in today’s boxing match in Los Angeles, California.

The match lasted only six rounds in 12 short minutes for Pacquiao to outpunch and outscore Velazquez to the delight of thousands watching in Staples Center and millions more who shelled-out 15 bucks for the pay-per-view event on TV (me, included). Too short and too intense, in fact, that I didn’t get a chance to touch the hotdog sandwich, chips, and beer I prepared for what was supposed to be a long 12-round match! Geez, now I appreciate the long commercial breaks and delayed telecast of boxing matches in Manila.

Gloria Arroyo should be thankful as she probably heaves a heavy sigh of welcome relief with this spectacular win-of-a-diversion from the worst political turmoil she has embroiled herself in.

Pacquiao put a scare in the first round as he wriggled his way out of tight confrontations only to corner Velazquez in the succeeding rounds with a rally of heavy punches and precise hits, forcing the Mexican boxer down to his knees, glassy-eyed, and scatterbrained. The score was 49-46 before the referee announced a TKO win for Pacquiao.

Aside from giving Pinoys a respite from the chaos that resembles Philippine politics, Pacquiao restores lost glory and pride pilfered away by Mexican boxer Erik Morales (who, in the following match lost to US Olympian Zahir Raheem) in a controversial and grisly match earlier this year.

Well, today indeed is a triumph for all Pinoys. Time to take off the beer caps and celebrate. A big kampai to a true champ, Manny Pacquiao!

See related blog entry: True Champ (Posted 20 March 2005)