May 2nd, 2009 is a day that people from the Asian Pacific region of the world will remember for all time.
In the second round with 12 seconds left, Manny Pacquiao threw a lightning fast right jab at Ricky Hatton's exposed head that stunned the Englishman backwards. Pacquiao quickly followed up with a two hit combo on Hatton that forced him to retreat once again.
Pacquiao then stepped to the side as "The Hit Man" closed back in on the "Filipino Slugger." He faked with his right then out of nowhere, "Pag sumontok, todo bigay" ("Pag sumontok, todo bigay" is a Tagalog catch phrase which loosely translates "when I punch, I give it all I got" from Manny Pacquiao's theme song "Lahing Pinoy") came to life.
With eight seconds in the round, the southpaw reared back with his left and unleashed the fury of a people that have fought many historic battles against Spanish colonization and the Empire of Japan in World War II. The destructive hook landed flush on the right side of Hatton's jaw.
Suddenly, Manchester's pride dropped to the ground in a lifeless heap. Hatton's fiancé Jennifer Dooley stood up in her seat with tears in her eyes and concern in her heart for the unconscious prize fighter as a whole nation celebrated the astonishingly dominating display by Manny Pacquiao. This is no doubt the new "Shot Heard Round the World."
"Nothing personal," Pacquiao stated after the fight. "Just doing my job."
Years before Pacquiao, there was a close family friend that captured the hearts and minds of boxing fans around the world. Gabriel "Flash" Elorde is widely considered as one of the greatest Filipino boxers of all time along with flyweight champion, Pancho Villa, and of course the "Pac-Man."
He was born and raised in the town of Bogo, Cebu and was beloved in the Philippines as a sports and cultural icon during his era, being the first Filipino international boxing champion since Villa in the 1920's. However, this is Pac-Man's time now as he leads the bid for recognition of the Asian athlete.
There are more and more ethnic Asians and Pacific Islanders playing NCAA and professional sports in the modern world. The San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum was awarded the National League's Cy Young award in 2008, given to baseball's top pitcher. Yao Ming is having a very productive career in the NBA as the Houston Rockets' center.
Ryan and Brandon Ting, a pair of identical twins, played defensive back for multiple National Championship USC teams, considered to be college football's elite program. There’s also Dat Nguyen, former starting middle linebacker for "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys.
Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki, baseball's new hit king with 262, broke the previous mark held by George Sisler a few years ago.
In the world of sports entertainment, WWE Superstar Batista is always in the thick of the title hunt on Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown. "The Animal" has claimed professional wrestling's top title on numerous occasions and is always battling in the main event.
Let's not forget Japan's reign as two time champion of the World Baseball Classic and of course, the number one pound for pound fighter in the world.
Filipinos everywhere are proud to have such a respectable and humble human being in Manny Pacquiao as their fellow countryman. I know Jose Rizal, my great ancestor and the National Hero of the Philippines, is a member of Team Pacquiao.