“Hey, dude,” said Orlando. “You want to come over Saturday for the Big Fight?”
“Big fight? Big fight?” I asked. “Cage match or hot oil?”
“No, dude,” said Orlando. “The Pacquiao one.”
Anytime you have to ask who is fighting in the Big Fight, you can rest assured it’s not a Big Fight. It’s like when somebody says “Hey, do you want to hear something funny?” What usually follows is something disappointing about Aunt Edie confusing the salt with the sugar.
Turns out Manny Pacquiao is a former four-time world champion and probably the greatest boxer in Filipino history. He’s also 5-foot-6, fights in the super flyweight division and is slightly heavier than a golden retriever.
What exactly is a “super” flyweight anyway? That’s like being the tallest midget.
I told Orlando I was reconsidering coming over for the fight and he accused me of being a “heightist.” (Or maybe it was an “anti-weightite.”)
And he’s probably right. At 6-foot-3, I have always looked down on people shorter than me.
It’s the reason I prefer the NFL and NBA to baseball, soccer and the WNBA. I want to see a ballgame played by genetic freaks, like a circus with T-shirt guns.
I will never be able to compete against athletes such as Terrell Owens or Shaquille O’Neal because they are taller, faster and stronger than I could ever be. Sure they’re more talented, but they’ve also hit the DNA equivalent of the lottery. And no matter how much coaching I get or how much “heart” I show, I will never, ever be seven feet tall.
And that’s what makes these mammoth athletes so interesting to watch, which is way more appealing than watching a fighter with the same waist size I had in sixth grade.
Look, I’ve played enough football and basketball and have been guarded by enough guys Manny Pacquiao’s size. It’s adorable, like a tickle fight with a Teddy Ruxpin. Sometimes little guys like him hit me with their tiny candy cane arms and I have to resist nodding off, because their baby little punches are so relaxing, like the massage chair at Sharper Image.
Other times I just want to pick them up and give them a me-sized hug, for fear that a hungry owl might swoop down and carry a Pacquiao-sized snack pack back to its nest.
That’s why I prefer heavyweight boxers to super flyweights or even middleweights. Heavyweights are stone-fisted gladiators who make other giants crumble with their earth-shattering haymakers. Smaller fighters get hit in the face 400 times per round and just keep coming at you like a high-strung Chihuahua.
And call me old-fashioned, but when you get hit right on the button you should immediately black out and crap your pants.
“It’s not the weight, but the impact of the punches that matters,” it says on Manny Pacquiao’s official website, which is exactly the kind of reasoning I’d expect from someone eye-level with Gary Coleman.
Hey, there’s no doubt that if I had to battle Manny Pacquiao right now, it wouldn’t take him long to knock me out (as long as he had a stepladder). And that’s not as impressive as it sounds because I routinely replace several of the basic food groups with Hostess cupcakes. Plus my idea of a food pyramid looks more like a rainbow-sprinkled donut.
But given enough time to properly diet, train and work out, I’ll bet I could put a tiny dancer like Manny Pacquiao on his ass.
“Once,” said Orlando. “Then he’d stand back up and destroy you.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
It’s the reason guys Manny Pacquiao’s size aren’t allowed to fight guys my size. And it’s also the reason gorillas don’t share the same cage at the zoo with the lemurs, because it’s physically unsafe. And sooner than later somebody’s going to get rolled up and put inside a monkey taquito.
“Yeah, fool,” said Orlando. “You.” (Orlando really has a way with words.)
I’m probably going to Orlando’s for the fight anyway. He’s serving barbecue tri-tip and I guess that’s better than baby-back ribs (which, to Manny Pacquiao, look like the order of Brontosaurus ribs that tipped over Fred Flintstone’s car).
Contact Jeff Girod at email@example.com