Filipinos silenced, stunned
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino fight fans jumped from their seats and watched in horror as Manny Pacquiao fell face down to the canvas after being knocked out by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas yesterday.

Movie houses, hotels, public parks and Army bases across the country fell silent as Pacquiao, the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions, tasted his second straight defeat this year.

“I’m so shocked. I can’t believe it… Manny was ahead on points,” barber Pedro Varela said after watching the fight in a Manila shopping mall.

“It was a good fight, Manny gave it his all. He was impressive. It was one lucky punch from Marquez,” he added.

The 39-year-old Marquez, who had lost twice and drawn once in their three previous meetings, sent Pacquiao crashing to the canvas with a stinging right hand with a second left in the sixth round of their non-title welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The Filipino southpaw remained motionless for several minutes before finally getting up, smiling at Marquez and then shaking his opponent’s hand in middle of the ring.

Social media sites were abuzz after the fight, with fans praising both fighters while there were also outpourings of disbelief that Pacquiao lost.

The Army said Pacquiao, an elected congressman and a lieutenant colonel in its reserve force, was still “an icon of perseverance, excellence and dedication not only to the soldiers but to millions of Filipinos.”

“Pacquiao did his best but Marquez turned out to be the better boxer,” military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said in a statement.

Soldiers filled the Armed Forces of the Philippines gym in Camp Aguinaldo to the rafters, expecting no less than a knockout from the celebrated eight-division world champion.

But the cheers and the laughter ever present in every Pacquiao fight turned into an eerie hush when Marquez fell the Filipino boxer with a crisp right hand. Filipinos started cheering again when Pacquiao came back with a vengeance in Round 4 then dropped the Mexican warrior into the canvas in the fifth.

Some analysts said the sixth round also belong to the Filipino fighter until that lucky punch sent Pacquiao to the canvas for good.

T/Sgt. Venancio Cammagay, a long-time Pacquiao fan, said the fight all boiled down to good luck. Pacquiao’s comrades in the Army expressed horror on the outcome, but said he is still their inspiration.

Some Filipinos, however, said Pacquiao might retire after the loss. It was his second straight loss in a year.

“I think that’s the end of his career,” state worker Miguel Manalo said.

Mommy D blames it on pastors

Pacquiao’s mother, popularly known as Mommy Dionisia, in an interview with a local television network, said her son should walk away from the ring for good and focus on his career as a politician.

She also had some harsh words for her son’s new-found faith, stating that it was his Catholic past that brought him his past championships.

“Ang nakapagchampion sa anak ko, ang dati niyang relihiyon na pinanggalingan niya (What made my son a champion was his former religion),” said the Pacquiao matriarch in an interview with GMA News TV’s Mark Salazar.

Dionisia started the interview saying that she is against her son fighting again. “Tell (Top Rank CEO and Pacquiao promoter] Bob Arum, stop it. My son is not an animal. He’s a man. I don’t want it anymore. He should focus on politics. He should leave boxing,” she said.

But when asked about whether his son follows her advice or not, Dionisia’s let out a tirade against the “pastors” that surround Manny:

“Listen. My son has a secret and the pastors are really pestering him. I’m not afraid whoever they are. I’m ready to face them. They are very pesky in the house of Manny. Very rowdy. Why should he get my son? His former religion made him champion,” she said.

Dionisia did not stop there, expressing her disapproval of her son and family’s decision to depart from Catholicism. “I told them they should not transfer (religion). Jinky, don’t change religion,” she said.

Pastor Jeric Soriano, Pacquiao’s spriritual advisor, comes from the Alabang New Life Christian Center in Muntinlupa. He has been visible in many of Pacquiao’s training camps. The boxing icon, on the other hand, was also at the pastor’s ordination earlier this January.   

Palace concedes

Malacañang, which earlier expressed confidence that Pacquiao would win hands down, conceded the loss and said nothing has changed in the Saranggani congressman’s honors to the country.

“The adulation and support of the Filipino to Manny still remain. Let’s pray for his strength to come back immediately,” a statement from the office of Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda read.

He said Pacquiao accepted his defeat with humility and dignity, the way he always does in times of victory.

Days before the Pacquiao-Marquez bout, Malacanang predicted a victory for Pacquiao.

Members of the House of Representatives also expressed their sadness at the fate of the once invincible pound-for-pound king, saying the shocking defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for the Filipino people.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Pacquiao is still the people’s champ and will always be the symbol of Filipino resiliency.

“I am certain he can rise above this setback and still inspire our own people, especially those in the south who are slowly picking themselves up after the recent devastation brought by typhoon ‘Pablo,’” Belmonte said.

San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito said “it was painful to see Manny lose that way but I am still proud of him for giving the country so much pride and glory for a decade.”

“Manny has proven his worth as a boxer. He will surely land a slot in boxing’s hall of fame. It’s time for him to deeply reflect as to his future in boxing,” Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said “Pacquiao has accomplished so much not only for himself but for the entire country as well.”

 Delon Porcalla, Jess Diaz, Non Alquitran, Rey Galupo, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero, Roel Pareno, Cesar Ramirez,

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