MANILA – Despite his loss, he fought a good fight, senators said of colleague boxer-senator Manny Pacquiao who lost his WBO (World Boxing Organization) welterweight world title to Australian boxer Jeff Horn in a unanimous decision on Sunday afternoon.
The tone was set earlier by Malacañang Palace, which said, in a statement by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, that nothing can diminish the pride that Pacquiao had brought to his country with his remarkable performance — with some reports noting how he outpunched the Australian Horn, despite having to deal with bleeding from two controversial headbutts.
Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said that “all three fights I watched Manny win [had the senator-boxer displaying] almost the same tenacity as this, pero ito maliwanag na-hometown decision tayo.” Apparently, he added, “some people wanted to make a superstar for boxing at our expense. The referee was obviously favoring Horn. Pati ‘yung mga judges binibilang yun mga punch ni Horn kahit naka headlock nya si Manny. Bawal ‘yun [Even the judges were counting the punches Horn landed on Manny even whiole he had Manny in a headlock. That’s prohibited].”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, apparently reacting to calls from some quarters that perhaps Pacquiao should consider retiring, said: “‘Wag tayo maki alam sa boxing career decisions ni Sen Manny. Siya lang may alam sa katawan niya [Let’s not meddle with Manny’s decisions; he knows his body best]; hence we let him decide. Sen. Manny Pacquiao, my PDP Laban partymate and colleague in the Senate, is forever my hero and idol. When he was at the peak of his boxing career and global popularity, he allowed me to be his friend. And I will be his friend and admirer up to the day I say goodbye to this world.
“Taas-noo lang (Hold your head up), Sen. Manny. You fought a good fight. Win or lose, Filipinos will always be proud of you, of what you have done for sports and the whole country,” Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said in a statement.
“In victory and in defeat, we have celebrated and cried with you. We are proud of you, Sen. Pacquiao!” he added.
Sen. Nancy Binay said Pacquiao, 38 showed the world that he could still fight against Horn, 29 or younger by nine years and that he was “graceful in defeat.”
“Manny showed us that we remain graceful in defeat, never losing hope, and striving to get back up on our feet against adversity,” Binay said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar lauded Pacquiao’s for his passion for the sport noting that his feat as one of the greatest boxers would be difficult to replicate.
“…The fact remains that Pacquiao’s feat as the greatest boxer of our time will be very hard to replicate. In the heart of many Filipinos, Pacquiao is a true champion who has given so much honor and pride to Filipinos around the world,” Villar said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Sotto and senators Joseph Victor Ejercito and Sherwin Gatchalian, however, disagreed with the results of the Pacquiao-Horn bout.
“Two head butts no deduction. Two words are trending ‘robbed and rigged,’” Sotto said on his official Twitter account.
Ejercito said that he found the “unanimous decision” vague. The judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.
“What? Unanimous decision? Labo ah! (That’s vague!) Whatever the result is, no other Filipino in the modern era has given the Philippines so much honor,” Ejercito said.
Gatchalian said that for him, Pacquiao was the “clear winner.”
“In my scorecard, Manny is the clear winner. He was decisive and strategic with his punches. Puro head lock lang ginawa ni Horn (Horn did mostly head locks),” Gatchalian said.