Manny Pacquiao arrived in Manila November 21 convinced that he had successfully defended his 147-pound title against Mexican challenger Juan Manuel Marquez whom he bested via a majority decision more than a week ago in Las Vegas.
“I believe that even before the 12-round bout was over, I was ahead and had won.” Pacquiao said upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal II from Los Angeles with wife Jinkee and a few members of his team.
“What I can only report to our countrymen is I did my best under the circumstances to defend my crown and I succeeded,” he told this writer later after attending mass at the Quiapo church.
“Factor which cannot be said of my opponent, who did nothing in the entire 12 rounds but to run away, wait for me to attack and counterpunch,” he said reaffirming his statements during the post-fight press conference at the media room of the MGM Grand.
“You cannot win a world championship that way. If you want to become champion, you have to fight for it, earn it and win it. You cannot get it on a silver platter,” he said rather philosophically.
When asked what his next plans are and who his next opponent, Pacquiao said there is no definite plan yet as to his next fight, adding he wants to enjoy being with his family first in the next several days before resuming his job as lawmaker representing his province Sarangani. “Back to work. Nothing is definite yet as to who my next opponent is,” he said.
Pacquiao admitted his win was not as convincing as what he and the boxing public expected. “My win was short of convincing, but no one could say that I did not give my best to win,” he added.
“What the people expected me to deliver did not happen,” he said rather apologetic. “Those things really happen. We cannot always win fights in one-sided fashion.”
“Besides, you can’t always beat your opponent black and blue. It so happened that it was a close fight,” he continued.
The Sarangani congressman, the world’s pound-for-pound king and he only man to win eight world titles in as many divisions, thanked his countrymen who supported him and prayed for him so he can win the hotly contest bout, including a Catholic congregation called “The Feast” whose 10,000 members offered prayers for him all weekends since he left Manila a month before the fight held at the MGM Grand Arena in the “Sin City.”
“I want to thank or Filipino countrymen for their support and prayers without which I could have vanquished my opponent,” he added.
Pacquiao also took potshots to those who did not believe in the judges’ decision and claim it was Marquez, known as the “Dinamita,” who won the contest.
“But to those who think the judges’ decision was wrong, I’d say get real…be a Filipino,” said Pacquiao, was originally scheduled to arrive last Friday but extended his stay in the U.S. said.
Pacquiao and wife Jinkee were met at the airport by their children Jemuel, Michael, Mary Divine Grace, and Queen Elizabeth, and friends. He will be staying at the Midas Hotel (formerly Hyatt) along the Roxas Blvd. Strip, which the late former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier called home during his stay in the country during the “Thrilla In Manila” trilogy with Mohammad Ali in 1975.
No definite plan yet, too, to call on President Aquino in Malacanang, a tradition every time he came home after a fight from abroad during the administration of former President and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.