On a Saturday night in May 2009, I was alone in my apartment and surprised when my Twitter feed exploded with updates of the same, seemingly anachronistic event: a boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.
A publicist I knew in Toronto wrote: What would Manny P do? A hipster friend in Texas tweeted: I wouldn’t trade places with Ricky Hatton’s jaw for all the Maker’s in Williamsburg. Mariah Carey observed: Pon de seats in the arena then This is really violent and then Woah. And then perhaps most strangely, several feminist critics wrote: Tagalog phrase: NANALO SI MANNY. English translation: MANNY WON.
Boxing is a disgusting sport, my mother always says. It’s all rich people watching poor people punch each other to death. Boxers aren’t poor, I say. Some get millions of dollars a match. But my mother is insistent. Look at tennis, look at golf, she says. Those are rich men’s sports; they don’t have to beat each other in the face. Yet for some reason, everyone I kn...