Pacman promises to reclaim WBO belt
By Abac Cordero Updated Tuesday June 12, 2012 - 12:00am

Manny Pacquiao says he has accepted his controversial loss to American Tim Bradley in a religious gathering at the Riviera Convention Center in LA. Abac Cordero

LAS VEGAS – The unthinkable happened at the MGM Grand Saturday: Manny Pacquiao losing a fight he was supposed to win.

Yes, the Filipino superstar is suddenly out of the winner’s circle. Now he is the former WBO welterweight champion.

But he vowed to come back – stronger and faster. He vowed to regain the title, and part of the reputation he just lost.

“This will make me a warrior in the ring,” Pacquiao said after losing his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley via a controversial split decision.

As he talked about the fight, before all the mediamen who covered the fight, it appeared that Pacquiao was trying to hold back his tears.

“I respect the decision. But 100 percent I believe I won the fight. I also respect my opponent. Let’s give credit to him,” said Pacquiao.

The last time Pacquiao lost a fight, against Erik Morales on March 19, 2005, he did look like a loser. Morales was simply the better one that night.

Pacquiao wore stitches over his right eye following that loss to Morales. He was battered, unlike this time, when he had Bradley in his hands.

He almost had him a couple of times but never really got close to scoring a knockout. If only he knocked Bradley out, things would have been entirely different.

After losing to Morales, Pacquiao bounced back like no boxer has ever done before, winning 15 fights in a row, jumping from one division to another.

Pacquiao rose to the occasion, beating bigger, heavier and taller fighters like Oscar dela Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. In that long stretch, he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez twice.

In the process he became the only fighter in history to win eight world titles in as many weight divisions. He became the pound-for-pound champion, the face of boxing.

He was supposed to drive past Bradley, keep his 147 lb title and his stock growing. But the judges had other things in mind, giving the victory to the American who had never tasted defeat.

Pacquiao said he was confident of a victory he didn’t even bother to listen to the scores being read by ring announcer Michael Buffer.

“I didn’t listen. I thought I (already) won,” he said.

As he spoke to the press, his wife Jinkee, and their sons, Jimuel and Michael, quietly sat on the other end of the long table.

Pacquiao talked about a rematch with Bradley when he was supposed to be answering questions on who he wants to fight next.

“I want the rematch. But it’s up to my promoter Bob Arum.”

“It’s part of the game. The best attitude about being an athlete is (to show) respect and professionalism. I hope you are not discouraged by this.

“I’m still here. I can fight. I can fight,” he said.

Pacquiao was assuring his fans that this is not the beginning of the end.

Maybe the loss hasn’t sunk in yet on him. Because once it does, he will realize how costly it could be.

“Next time,” he said before leaving the room.

Did he mean that next time he will knock Bradley out?

We have to wait five months for the answer.

“I thank God for everything,” he said.

And Pacquiao, the former champion, walked away.

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