HIS face beaten and bruised, Manny’s eyes appear resigned to defeat. His Mexican opponent throws his arms up anticipating victory.
Manny’s wife stays seated in her ringside chair, her eyes welling up with tears.
But there will be no tears for Filipinos tonight. As he has now done for more than a decade, Manny Pacquiao fought hard and smart enough to convince judges that he indeed is a world champion. Instead of being defeated, Manny is given the victory and he then closes his eyes to pray.
Boxing fans around the world love Manny. He is acknowledged by fight experts to be the best pound-for-pound athlete on the planet. He is respected as a relentless competitor with the heart of a champion. With this weekend’s $22 million win over an infuriated Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, Manny became the ultimate Overseas Filipino Worker.
In the eyes of Filipinos, Manny has transcended sports. He proudly carries the Philippine flag around the world, honing his craft, earning millions of dollars in boxing wages, and dutifully sending the money back to his wife’s hometown of Kiamba, Sarangani.
Like all good Filipinos, Manny is prayerfully devout and has more than two jobs. He is a military reservist with the Philippine Army and he serves as a congressman for the Philippine Congress. Within the boxing ring, the eight-time world champion frequently makes the sign of the cross and every time he comes back from a successful fight abroad, he attends a Thanksgiving Mass in Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila to kneel and pray.
Hopefully, Manny also takes time after every fight to get his eyes checked. As a fighter, he is especially at risk for a condition called retinal detachment which could cause him to lose his eyesight. According to MayoClinic.com, retinal detachment can occur when eyeball fluid called vitreous humor leaks through a retinal hole or tear and accumulates underneath the retina. Small retinal holes or tears can develop where the retina has thinned due to aging or head trauma.
The symptoms of retinal damage include sudden partial loss of vision, often described as if a curtain had fallen across your eyes. More mysteriously, flashes of light may appear or odd images will seem to float out of thin air. Though retinal detachment is usually painless, the symptoms can be frightening and cause patients to think they are going blind.
Retinal detachment is an emergency situation that can be improved if appropriate medical care is received in a timely fashion. The areas where the retina is detached lose their blood supply and, if untreated, can result in permanent vision loss. Fortunately, retinal detachment often has clear warning signs. If you go to an eye specialist, an ophthalmologist
Dr. David Parks is a retinal specialist and member of the Guam Medical Association. Using some of the most sophisticated eye tools on the planet, Dr. Parks saves people from going blind by aggressively treating retinal detachments, hemorrhage, and strokes. According to Dr. Parks, Guam has eye doctors and surgical equipment as good as, or better, than most communities in the mainland United States.
Dr. Parks recommends that guys like Manny get a thorough eye exam after each fight and after particularly hard-hitting training sessions, if the athlete experiences repeated head trauma.