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A Shocking Face-First Fall

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LAS VEGAS -- His face vanished. How jarring, even to the verge of creepy. We were at a boxing match involving Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand and then came a whoosh too brisk to process and suddenly we could not see his face.

I mean, come on. We always see that face. We have seen it through 23 U.S. bouts across 11 years in four states and eight venues and 15 wins in a row across seven years, not to mention in untold ads. Whether squinting to punch somebody or taking a punch, that face stays forever five-plus feet above the ground, atop Pacquiao’s small but statuesque frame, a face in ubiquity, the global face of boxing, the runaway most-famous face among the 103 million faces in the 12th-most-populous nation, the Philippines.

Now the face went away, pressed down...

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