Disappointed with fight, military still proud of Pacquiao

Soldiers in Camp Aguinaldo enjoying the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout. Alexis Romero

MANILA, Philippines - The military is still proud of boxing icon and Army reserve lieutenant colonel Manny Pacquiao despite his loss to American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said Pacquiao did his best during the bout and he would remain "the greatest fighter" for soldiers.

"It's unfortunate na hindi nanalo si pambansang kamao (that our national fist did not win) but I think deep inside, he made us all proud," Catapang told reporters after watching the match in Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday.

Catapang, however, believes that Pacquiao should have won the bout, which has been dubbed as "the fight of the century."

"I think the decision was not fair because as Manny said, he thought all the while he was ahead," the military chief said.

"Both are cautious but Manny was aggressive. He was hitting Floyd," he added.

Pacquiao is the executive officer of the 1st Sarangani Ready Reserve Battalion. He was commissioned as a reserve Army lieutenant colonel in 2011.

When asked if Pacquiao's loss would change the way soldiers view the Filipino boxer, Caapang said: "No because he gave his best."

"We enjoyed the fight. I think for that I think Manny won," he added.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri said Pacquiao would "always be the icon of the Army troopers' determination and courage."

"Like a true soldier, he lived up to the Phil Army's core values of honor, patriotism and duty," Iriberri said.

Catapang said they would prepare a hero's welcome for Pacquiao once he returns to the country.

The military chief watched the fight at the Armed Forces Commissioned Officers Club with his classmates from the Philippine Military Academy class '81.

Soldiers disappointed

About 1,500 soldiers and military dependents watched the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight at the Camp Aguinaldo Grandstand on Sunday.

Rain poured during the second half of the match, leaving some spectators drenched. The rain, however, did not dampen the mood of the soldiers who cheered and shouted while Pacquiao delivered punches to Mayweather. Some of them were too focused on the fight that they did not leave the open field despite the rains.

Some soldiers booed and yelled "madaya" (rigged match) when it was announced that Mayweather won the match.

"Lutong Macau! Pacquiao pa rin kami, (It was a fixed match. We are still rooting for Pacquiao)," a female soldier said.

"Ulitin yan! Rematch!" a male soldier yelled.

Other soldiers displayed thumbs down sign to express their objection to the judges' decision.

It was the same story in Zamboanga, where the earlier thunderous cheers in the military gym of Westmincom were reduced to nervous anticipation.

"They robbed Manny. It was clear Manny had it until the last round. It's a big disappointment," said a retired US serviceman. "I'm so angry with those boxing officials of Nevada. That's how they played it there."

The former soldier was contracted by the US military to look after its facilities in Zamboanga said the fight should have been instead be held Macao to avoid the possibility of rigging.

He said there must be a complaint to have the fight investigated.

Military officers were saddened by Pacquiao's loss but believe the Filipino fighter deserves admiration.

"That's the way it is. In every fight, there's a winner and a loser. But Pacquiao still has the support of Filipinos and the soldiers," said Lt. Anna Leah Cazcarro of the Office of the Secretary Joint Staff.

"We are happy with the showing of Manny Pacquiao. We are proud that he is a military reservist. No matter what, if you give your best, that's what counts. Lt. Col. Pacquiao did his share," said retired general Domingo Tutaan Jr.  - With Roel PareƱo

comments powered by Disqus