7 Lessons from the Pacquiao “Loss”

Posted at 06/11/2012 9:57 PM | Updated as of 06/11/2012 10:47 PM

WASHINGTON DC, United States – Manny Pacquiao unquestionably won that fight with Timothy Bradley. There is no doubt in my mind as a boxing fan that Pacquiao handily won even if it was not the best fight of his career. So when the ring announcer revealed the split 2-1 decision in favor of Bradley, I was dumbfounded as anyone who watched the fight around the world. Simply dumbfounded.

I never like to use the phrase “He was cheated”. That’s the line most Philippine politicians use whenever they lose an election to another candidate. Never accepting defeat and always pointing a finger, losing politicians most often decry that they were cheated and never concede. Then again, scouring the blogs and looking back at some of the fight rounds, it’s hard not to feel that Pacquiao was robbed of the fight and titles (and, thus, cheated).

But any loss – controversial or fair, in the sports ring or in any other life venue – means that certain lessons need to be learned. As the old adage goes, we truly learn more from our defeats. Here are some of the things I think Manny Pacquiao and all of us need to learn as a result of this so-called “loss”.

• Don’t make the Judges wait
• Appearing aggressive sometimes wins you something
• Don’t just “Cruise” to a victory
• Boxing is a business and there is politics in every business
• Absolutely nothing is certain, expect the unexpected
• UFC is a great alternative to Politicized Boxing
• Life goes on whether Pacquiao wins or not

1. Don’t Make the Judges Wait.

When you were applying for that dream job, did you make your potential employers wait for you for one hour because you were busily watching the Celtics (or any other sports team)? When you, as a business executive, were about to close that multimillion dollar deal, did you make your Japanese counterpart wait for you because your favorite TV show was on? When you are going to board that flight back home for the holidays, did you make everyone wait?

No, absolutely not. Do those things and you lose. Or create a bad impression that’ll stick. Do any of those and people will think of you as selfish and conceited with a sense of entitlement.

Say you’re a known lawyer scheduled to appear before a judge for a simple motion, something you win 99% of the time. You call the clerk of court to say you’ll be late not because of conflict of schedule or an emergency. You tell the clerk to hold off on the motion hearing because you are watching a live baseball event. One hour later, you appear. The judge is furious but is holding off her temper. You deliver your practiced spiel as to why you ought to win the motion. The opponent lawyer delivers his but without much argument or substance. The other lawyer wins the motion. You are dumbfounded and in disbelief. Lesson is: Judges are also human.

Pacquiao’s prioritization of the Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Finals is inexcusable. As a Pacman fan, I thought that was disrespectful of the sport and Bradley. Why concentrate on a basketball game when this young and hungry boxer wants to tear at you at the get-go. It is almost foolish to watch a basketball game immediately prior to a boxing match featuring him.

Certainly, it’s not fair for the judges to decide against Pacquiao because he made them wait. That’s unconscionable. But Pacquiao shouldn’t have given them something to be angry about.

2. Appearing Aggressive Sometimes Wins You Something.

Form, not necessarily substance. Posturing, not necessarily hitting or connecting. Look at the CompuBox stats and Bradley threw more punches than Pacquiao. But the latter landed and connected with more punches. To some, Bradley may have appeared aggressive most of the fight even when he got hit multiple times.

In real life, too much posturing and “personal air” over pure, substantive work is not good at the workplace or in school. That said, however, some people do get something out of just appearing aggressive. If that person sells himself or herself well enough, the people upstairs might actually believe in that person’s capacity to do certain things even if the opposite is clear.

Substance should always trump form. But the lesson here is that we should be wary that sometimes an overly-posturing individual gets something out of that mere posturing.

3. Don’t Just “Cruise” to a Victory.

In the latter rounds, particularly rounds 10, 11, 12, Pacquiao appeared to just be coasting to victory. Like it’s a done deal and he’ll spare Bradley any punishment. Perhaps he was thinking that it was similar to the Margarito fight. But Bradley was different than Margarito. Bradley moved more, punched more and connected more than Margarito. So Pacquiao should have gone full force in all of the rounds.

The judges, incompetent as they are, found that Bradley won in rounds 10, 11 and 12 (3 rounds x 3 judges) except for one round for one judge. That’s 8-1 in favor of Bradley. Seriously, that’s infuriating as the fight did not go that way. Pacquiao did not fare that badly. Bradley may have won one of those rounds but not an 8-1 ratio. Lesson is: cruising to victory is risky.

4. Boxing is a Business and there is Politics in Every Business.

Boxing is politicized. Conspiracy theorists suddenly awoke and said that Pacquiao was orchestrated to lose so that a rematch can be forged and may even be a trilogy. Since Mayweather will not fight Pacquiao, then Bradley is the next best bet. Under the contract, if Pacquiao loses, there is an automatic rematch. If Bradley loses, no rematch is guaranteed.

Lesson is: people need to remember that boxing is a business. Big Business, actually. And the political hand of boxing bigwigs can be felt. No one threw the match away as both fighters brought their respective fight. But it seems that the judges were predisposed to give rounds to Bradley even if he did not punch that well or moved enough. Pacquiao, like the young Bradley, is a mere chess pawn that boxing overlords move and sacrifice at their pleasure.

5. Absolutely Nothing is Certain, Expect the Unexpected.

Nothing is certain. Not that job, not that raise, not that school admission, not that part, not good health, not good weather, not old age, not that win. Everything and anything can happen. Lesson is: you can’t be too comfortable or “kampante” or else you risk losing it all. Stay hungry.

6. UFC is a Great Alternative to Politicized Boxing.

Big Time Boxing is way too big for boxing overlords not to dip their hands on the outcomes. Too much money is at stake. That’s why MMA enthusiasts “celebrate” this controversial decision because it exposes the dirty politics of Big Time Boxing. The UFC on the other hand is a somewhat smaller event but is as exciting as boxing. UFC fighters are not paid as much as Big Time boxers so the tendency to throw matches or predetermine victories is not there – at least as of now. Lesson is: if you like contact sports, there are others besides boxing.

7. Life Goes On Whether Pacquiao Wins or Not.

If you’re depressed, don’t be. If you’re miserable, please stop. If you’re confused, do something else. Pacquiao will be fine. In fact, he is very fine. He was just excessively compensated for this fight, win or lose. So it’s not as if he lost so much. He did technically lose the fight but he can get the rematch and also be paid handsomely for it.

Who really lost are the Pay-Per-Viewers who had to pay approximately $65 (with tax), the real boxing aficionados who love the sport, and boxing itself.

Life goes on with a Manny Pacquiao loss. We can’t sulk too long. Lesson is: internalize it, accept it and then move on. There’s so much to life than Pacquiao always winning.
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This column’s author, Carlo Osi, is a lawyer & writer based in Washington, D.C. and educated by Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Kyushu University, and UP.

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Disclaimer: The ideas and content above are solely the opinion and perspective of the author. They are not representative in any way of the position, opinion or outlook of his past or present employment affiliations, nor should they be interpreted as any form of legal or tax advice.