Two straight setbacks: one via controversial split decision loss, the other via technical knockout. Nevertheless, 2012 has been nothing but a tragedy in the minds of every Filipino boxing enthusiast.
In the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao is bigger than just a sports personality. For them, he's a hero. A glaring reminder that there's still hope in a country that consists of the masses and run by the wicked ones. Pacquiao is a living testament that hard work paid off and deep faith to God will lead someone to a better place.
This had been the relevance of Pacquiao to his fellow Filipino people for a span of almost a decade. Every knockout win is reason for celebration and every loss is a sign for national mourning. But in the wake of a devastating knockout loss to his rival Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao's aura of hope has all of a sudden vanished.
For all we know, Pacquiao's next fight against Brandon Rios will not just be a boxing match, but a big battle for survival. On September 23, 2013, in the velvet city of Macau, China, we will see if the legend of the Pac-man will have another exciting chapter or perhaps end in a painful exclamation point.