By Reni M. Valenzuela

If Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios were to last twelve rounds of the bout next week or escape a Hatton-like disaster, he will have to effect tactical adjustments in his method or methods going against a strong typhoon. While the raging tempest from the Philippines is a southpaw battler who is not obliged to switch style if Rios fights the way he fights.

However, defiant Rios may pull an upset to send Manny Pacquiao to retirement by “scorecards” or by the “judges,” should Pacquiao fail to dodge “lucks” apart from his known brand of offense. Though, the bout would not go the distance if the Pacman onslaught would be timed for head on collisions between two advancing aggressors because the heat wave would favor Pacquiao and serve him good to hammer his way into smashing victory, a la Thor.

Without veering away from wise counsels, let it be core for Pacquiao to be his own man regardless of the plot devised by his team, come fight night. And let it be incumbent upon the come-backing “superhero” to move naturally inside the squared circle just as when he naturally bullied into submission beastly opponents in the past, the Mighty Thor fashion.

The Haggler and Duran “movements” were in Pacquiao’s ring manner conspicuously the last two fights in which he suffered heartbreaking defeats. But if Pacquiao cannot learn from Marvin Haggler and Roberto Duran, he’d rather forget Haggler and Duran if all he does is copy and mimic the two legends.
Every boxer is unique.

To imitate another boxer is not learning from the same boxer. Adrien Broner wants to be Mayweather in antics, shade and all. He is obviously eager to create a replica of Mayweather and not in becoming his best bent that has potentials of his own to tap and maximize. In the aftermath of Broner’s lackluster performance and contested win over Paulie Malgnaggi last June, Floyd could only comment about his “little brother” and protégé: “He has a lot to learn.”

Pacquiao will be back if he is back as Pacman and one who learned his lessons.

A little lad who relies on Omnipotence for strength other than his own is wiser and tougher than a platoon of dragons who believe just the gods of atheists; or a host of giant Philistines who can devour bulls and cyclops but defy Heaven. Let faith be “un-religious” this time for Pacman.

Pacquiao doesn’t have to be bothered with doing or not doing a sign of the cross in each round when the bell rings. The usual kneeling down in his corner upon entering the boxing stage and a silent prayer during breaks will be fine enough. Pacquiao need not learn from Sugar Ray Leonard since he’s already got the rapid fire combinations of Leonard in outsmarting and routing opponents without the fans seeing Leonard when he executes the craft.

Pacquiao is far from being the long-haired Nazarite though he used to caress Delilahs in his lap as a lost warrior. Samson was not a Filipino boxer. Therefore Pacquiao is at liberty to shave his face any time for he looks increasingly more like Nur Misuari than George Clooney, wearing beard and moustache. Let people see Pacquiao in Pacquiao, not idols in his blight.

You can’t depend on image in trying to win battles because only clowns in circus/Congress are allowed to paint their aura and put on camouflage. Substance and image are often opposites. Note that King Kong, however huge he appears on screen, is still a monkey. Image, as in a book, is mere image that has nothing behind it when you turn the page. Truth is thicker than impression. Hence it never stands out deformed.

It’s miserable to lose track in life for you can only be at your best or worst where your heart is. Success is when you’re back to your real self, moving on from there, and vigorously pursuing destiny as you draw ever closer (not farther) to the One you can trust the most. Be who you are by becoming larger than life in heart and thought while rising above the mundane into the realm of the miraculous.

Paquiao will surely be back – if he is back as “Pacman.” And Rios could be proven soft exactly as he appears.