Pacquiao punches the hyperbaric oxygen out of Marquez

Manny, Juan Manuel, please fight again.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Juan Manuel Marquez was ready to raise his arms in victory and show off a nice bush of armpit hair. Instead he saw the one belonging to Manny Pacquiao victoriously gleaming in the lights as the winner was announced.

He was flabbergasted.

Pacquiao and Marquez did basically the same types of exercises during months of training. They trained as intensely as they could. They had access to similar supplements to nourish their bodies.

The only difference? Marquez has undergone hyperbaric oxygen therapy for an hour or so after every training day. This involves being locked up in a pressurized chamber and breathing pure oxygen, which he thought would help in muscle recovery.

I would have loved to offer him a cigarette while he’s inside the chamber, just to see how he’ll recover from that. Then again, he doesn’t smoke.

In any case, he lost to Pacquiao by a majority decision. The hyperbaric oxygen was not enough. He couldn’t knock out Pacquiao. And I’m glad I watched the fight live… live from Makati Palace Hotel’s conference room.

I got a deal from Ensogo and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to finally watch a live Pacquiao bout. The voucher cost me P900, inclusive of a buffet brunch. The food was not great, though. They probably hired the street vendors nearby to cook for them. Yet for a hungry man, it was good enough.

I was nervous all throughout the fight. I didn’t want to be the jinx who would cause Manny’s defeat. I just wanted to know how it was to watch a Pacquiao fight live on a big screen.

I was alone. Every time Pacquiao landed punches on Marquez, there was a collective “ooh”. But every time Marquez pummelled Pacquiao, you’d hear the same “ooh,” though with a slightly lower pitch. I guess it was like that during Pacman’s earlier fights.

This is what I ate. You can find food like this in street food stalls in Makati.

There were a lot of middle aged and older people watching. Around 250 were comfortably seated in round tables in the conference room. Three big projector screens were placed in strategic spots: one each on both ends of the L-shaped room, and one on the corner of the L. A few Americans were with their escorts who giggled too much, as if being tickled. There were a few kids with their parents, too. There were groups of friends in their 20s. I saw laptops and iPads. I guess people just can’t help posting messages on Facebook or Google + and tweeting about the fight.

Most of the time, I found myself, well, talking to myself. “Go Manny!” “Knock him out!” All the others were talking to their companions. But I was one with them. I felt their excitement. I shouted when they shouted. I oohed when they oohed.

It’s amazing how mere spectators can instantly become experts when watching Pacquiao fight. After the 12 rounds, some of my companions at the table were saying that Pacman would probably lose.

And I thought so, too. It was a close fight. It appeared to me that Marquez had more solid and clean shots than Pacman. But I didn’t keep score. I was still hoping that Pacman would win.

For some reason, before the winner was announced, my companions were already leaving their seats. Did they have a sudden urge to empty their bladders? Was there a fire in the building? Did I suddenly zone out and miss the announcement of the winner?

When Pacman was finally announced as the winner by majority decision, I said, “Wow, galing! Ang swerte ni Pacquiao!” I high-fived myself and the table. No use running after my table mates.

I admit that I desperately wanted Pacquiao to knock out Marquez. It was not a satisfying victory for me. But still, I’m glad he won.

Am I going to watch a Pacquiao fight in a hotel again? Probably not. Not unless I know the food is going to be great.

It was an awesome experience nevertheless. I’m not going to worry about any hanky-panky in the results. But I’d love to see another re-match.

So here’s a collective high five to all of you Pacquiao fans out there. Don’t leave me hanging.

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