Manny Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya Bout Likely

Suddenly, there’s a lot of hype about a possible big-ticket fight between the Pacman and the Golden Boy. After initial reports that Manny Pacquiao’s next bout will be with Umberto Soto, Edwin Valero or even Ricky Hatton, talk has now shifted to a match between the two most “marketable” boxers in the world today, Manny and Oscar De La Hoya. With the emphasis on marketable.

Pacquiao trainer Freddy Roach, explaining why he would choose Oscar de la Hoya over Humberto Soto for Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent, bluntly said that it’s all about the money:
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Oil Price Shocks and Other Midyear Prognostications

Here are my forecasts for the next half of 2008, and I feel gloomy just thinking about most of them.

1. More Oil Price Increases – a worldwide trend with no let-up in sight. I get a fever every time I go to the gas station. Unleaded is now P60.00 plus per liter at the pump and rising weekly. Crude hit a new record high of U.S.$ 143/barrel and keeps climbing. It will get worse in the last quarter as winter approaches. I fear we will hit the nightmare scenario of U.S. $ 200.00/barrel sooner than predicted.

2. Food prices and other basic commodities will increase - a no- brainer. The effect of rising energy costs, combined with other factors like increased demand and diminished production, will drive up the inflation rate, which in Metro Manila has reached double digits. Expectedly, food will exhibit the steepest price increase. The negative impact on overall income due to inflation will naturally lead to a drop in personal consumption. Which will in turn slow down the economy etc., etc. ad nauseum. Continue reading

Manny “the Mexecutioner” Pacquiao Knocks Out Diaz in 9th to Win Championship

Manny Pacquiao knocked out Mexican-American David Diaz in the 9th round to grab the WBC lightweight championship in Las Vegas and become the first Asian to hold four different titles at different weights and the first Filipino to hold the crown. Even the late, great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde failed in his 2 attempts to wrest the world lightweight crown.

An animated Diaz, surprising for someone who just kissed the canvas, admitted after the fight that he never saw Pacquiao’s right-left jab combination coming and walked right into it. Diaz was lavish in his praise of Pacquiao. Manny won it on speed and accuracy, rather than power, putting to rest speculations that he might have slowed down as he went up a heavier weight class. He also mixed a solid body attack with combination shots to the head, but the sturdy Diaz refused to go down. Until the decisive 9th round.

It was a battle of lefties, and Manny outfoxed Diaz by coming out with his “secret weapon”, a crushing right jab which he followed with his left, thereby putting his opponent off guard. Pacquiao first snapped Diaz’s head with a mean right jab, moved in closer to his opponent and unleashed a 1-2 combo capped by a powerful left cross that decked Diaz. In Diaz’ words:

He was fucking fast, I didn’t see [the left hand] coming.

Boxing writers have dubbed Pacquiao the “Mexecutioner“, for obvious reasons. Continue reading

Typhoon Frank Lashes Visayas and Luzon but Spares Me and Leads to Girls in Bikinis Forming the Olympic Rings

Typhoon Frank (international code name: Fengshan) hit the Visayas region yesterday, killing at least 17 with scores missing, including the passengers of an inter-island ferry which sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province, and continues to lash Luzon as I write this. Thankfully, while it slammed Metro Manila full force early this morning , with maximum winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph., our abode suffered no damage as far as I can see. It blew part of the roof off the church annex being built across the street, but spared our house. The debris now hangs across the utility wires adjacent to our neighbor’s house. It could have hit our residence but didn’t, thanks to divine providence.

Read also: Typhoon Frank, the MV Princess of the Stars Tragedy and the Culture of Disaster

My good fortune was compounded when I found this video in the Far East Economic Review’s Travellers’ Tales while surfing. In the run-off to the Beijing Olympics in August, the Chinese have set new standards for taste and class in promoting the games, this time involving around 1,200 girls forming the iconic Olympic rings.

Something to brighten up an otherwise gray day. Such is life.

Boston Celtics Win Historic 17th NBA Championship with Ubuntu

Read also:L.A. Lakers and Bostons Celtics on the Verge of NBA Championship Series

As predicted, the hungrier, grittier team won. The Boston Celtics mercilessly crushed the L.A. Lakers, 131-92 at Boston, to clinch the team’s historic 17th NBA championship, the most for any NBA franchise. Two of Boston’s Big Three, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, together with guard Rajon Rondo, came through with big numbers to lead the Celtics charge, and win Game 6 and what was supposed to be a 7-game series, 4 games to 2. Paul Pierce, the series MVP and Celtics’ go-to guy of the past three games played in L.A., was limited to only 17 points amid the tight defense thrown against him by the Lakers. But Rondo more than made up for the slack, scoring 21 . Thus ended a 22-year title drought for the Cinderella Celtics, the second-worst team in the NBA just last season.

It was a classic match-up, pitting the workmanlike, blue-collar Celtics against the flash and dash of the Hollywood Lakers, led by superstar Kobe Bryant. Continue reading

L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics on the Verge of NBA Championship Series

The L.A. Lakers lead the Spurs 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals, and looks to put them away Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila) at Staples Center, where they own a 7-0 record in the postseason. DONE.

The Celtics are one win away from the NBA finals, for the first time in more than two decades. Ray Allen scored 29, hitting a long 2-pointer with a minute left after Detroit came within one point, then he and Kevin Garnett each made a pair of free throws down the stretch as the Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons 106-102 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 6 is on Friday (Saturday morning in Manila) in Detroit, with the Celtics holding a 3-2 series lead. With a victory there or on Sunday back in Boston, the Celtics would advance to the NBA finals for the first time since the legendary Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish took them there in 1987. DONE.

What does this mean ? The revival of a historic rivalry, Lakers vs. Celtics, East vs. West, Bird vs. Magic, which for my generation defined the highest level of competitive basketball ever played on the planet. Continue reading

China Cracks Down Hard on Tibetan Demonstrators; Violence to Escalate as the Beijing Olympics nears

Newsweek did a cover story two weeks ago on the resurgence of Buddhism in Asia and elsewhere and its rise as a potent –even militant- political force. This is a revolutionary development for a religion known for its pacifism and contemplative character. Buddhism espouses detachment from the material world, and thus eschews all but the most rudimentary political institutions. It does not have a formally organized central political authority, like the Vatican. Yet it has morphed into a political movement, the “armies of the enlightened” as Newsweek terms it, as events in Burma and lately, in Tibet, have shown.

Last week, protests in Tibet turned violent as Chinese security forces clashed with hundreds of Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans protesting continued Chinese rule. According to the Tibetan protestors, at least 80, and perhaps many more, people were killed; Chinese authorities placed the official death toll at 10. Rioting has spread to neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan, and has mobilized sympathizers internationally.

The protests began March 10, the anniversary of a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising. The People’s Republic of China took Tibet by force in 1951, and has implemented a policy of resettlement of Han Chinese from the east, who now far outnumber ethnic Tibetans.

At the center of the conflict: Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. China called for an international investigation of the Dalai Lama, accusing him of masterminding the violent Tibetan protests spreading across China. Beijing’s position was summarized as “Tibet has long been part of China, that Tibet has benefited from modernization, and that the Dalai Lama should not be allowed to return because he aims to split Tibet from China.” Continue reading

Super Bowl Sunday Eclipses Super Tuesday

Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup (early Monday morning in Manila) between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants is certainly of more interest to more people (an estimated 90-140 million t.v. viewers) than Super Tuesday, when a record 24 states will hold primaries and caucuses to determine the candidates for the next President of the United States.

Football will trump politics anytime, and Super Bowl XLII promises to live up to all the hype and hoopla, with the undefeated Patriots (18-0) going against the upstart underdog Giants (13-6).

As I write this, the Giants drew first blood with a field goal, making it 3-0. But the Patriots soon rushed for a touchdown, courtesy of Laurence Maroney, and the score is 7-3, Pats. Continue reading