As a kid, I remember watching my first boxing match with my dad on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on Saturdays. I don’t remember who the fighters were, but I think that’s when I was first tempted by boxing’s flirtations. I then went through watching Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and all the big name fighters throughout the years. It was fun to watch, I had a good time and I soon fell in love with it.
Then I watched the “Super Fight” with Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. It was my first experience with a controversial decision. Hagler was the aggressor in the fight and looked like he was on his way to a victory. Looking back at the fight, it was a closer match than I thought. Both fighters boxed beautifully. But at the time, I was sure Hagler won the match. Leonard won on a split decision: 118-110, 113-115, 115-113 (look familiar?). I should have known then that something was wrong.
But that still did not sway me from the sport. It took the Don King Corruption years to force me to say, “Enough!” and I just walked away without watching another boxing match until years later. I felt cheated on.
Then in September 2005, Manny Pacquiao, won the WBC International Super Featherweight Title Belt against Hector Velazquez and I was courted again by Boxing as she flirted and batted her eyes at me once again. I fell for her once more and took her back with open arms. Fifteen Pacman fights later, I was back into it full swing even though we had our ups and downs. Even while all the Floyd Mayweather drama was happening, I didn’t end it with her. I should have realized her infidelity was brewing during the Mayweather fiasco. But I was blind as all people are when they are in love. As a Filipino American, I was proud to be able to root for a legitimate champion from my parents’ birthplace fight after fight. So any warnings were subconsciously ignored.
Then on June 9th, 2012, the relationship came crashing down as I watched Manny Pacquiao dominate Tim Bradley for 10 of the 12 rounds in Las Vegas only to see the judges award Bradley the championship belt on a split decision. Like the Leonard vs. Hagler fight, the scoring was similar: 115-113, 113-115, 113-115. But the match itself was not similar in any way. Manny Pacquiao clearly won the fight. Some of Pacquiao’s punches reminded me of the old video game, “Mike Tyson’s Punchout.” The first fighter you have to face in the game was Glass Joe. As you punch Glass Joe on the chin, his head whips to the side and his neck stretches as you get closer to a knockout. Bradley’s head was whipping back in the same way. I just knew Pacquiao won again. I couldn’t believe it when the decision was announced. I stood there in shock.
After awhile, I sat down and thought to myself, “I let her do it to me again. That fucking bitch!” I let her get close to me once more and she just stomped all over my heart. I asked myself, “Was it because I started talking with the UFC?” But that couldn’t be it. I liked the UFC, but I was never inappropriate. Boxing was my girl. So it can’t be cheating, right? Was boxing just getting back at me because she thought I was hooking up with the UFC? Somehow, I don’t think so. Boxing was the first love and I was totally committed to her. Boxing just turned her back on me again.
At the same time, when I talked to UFC, she seamed interesting and so realistic. Anybody would be tempted. Plus she was consistent. She never told me anything that surprised me. Yeah, the fighter I liked didn’t always win, but UFC was always honest with me and kept it real. She was a true friend…
So this morning I woke up and decided that I was done with boxing. She hurt me too many times. I realized UFC has been down for me since I met her and has never been untruthful. With boxing today, I had one or two fighters that I watched consistently. With the UFC, I now have many: Evans, Jones, Silva, GSP, Penn, Lesner. And the list goes on. I devoted all my energy to Boxing when the one who really cared about me and loved me was right in front of my eyes. Thank you for being there UFC and having faith in me! I know I can count on you. I look forward to a long wonderful relationship. I should’ve believed in you sooner.
Plus, UFC, you have hotter Ring Girls!