MANILA – Eight-division world boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao came home to a warm hero’s welcome despite loss to still undefeated boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in their match billed as the “Fight of the Century” last May 2 (May 3 in the Philippines).
Upon his return, Pacquiao announced that he may retire soon. The Filipino boxing icon came home with his right arm in a sling as he recently had shoulder injury for a torn rotator cup.
When asked for any boxing or political plans, Pacquiao only said that he was focused on his recovery for now.
“I will focus first on healing my shoulder. After that, I will announce whether to continue my career or my retirement,” Pacquiao told reporters upon his arrival to the country.
“I’m not saying I am going to retire [now], but it’s near. I’m already 36, turning 37 this December,” he added.
But when Pacquiao was told that Mayweather referred to him as a ‘sore loser’ and a ‘coward’ after he disclosed his shoulder injury, he said that he was willing to have a rematch.
“I [would] like that (fight). [But] I don’t want to say anything, because if I say something I will be stooping to his level,” he said.
“My focus right now is my shoulder, my work as a congressman and my family,” he added, mentioning that he is expected to be fully healed after a period of six to twelve months.
Although fully accepting his defeat, Pacquiao still believed that he really won the fight.
“I reviewed the fight and kept score. I won by two points … but a decision has been made and we have to accept it. At least in the people’s hearts, I won,” he said.
“I have accepted my defeat. It is just boxing. That is part of the sport where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose,” he added.
But more importantly, Pacquiao believed he won over Mayweather by restoring the American boxer’s faith.
“I still won because before and after the fight, Mayweather thanked the Lord,” he said.
Pacquiao had a homecoming motorcade from Makati to Manila City yesterday, where he gave away autographed shirts and CDs to fans who welcomed him in the streets. Despite his defeat, the people still called him the people’s champ.
Pacquiao then went to the Malacañang for a courtesy call with President Benigno Aquino III, who ‘congratulated and thanked him’ for bringing honor to the country by fighting with courage and skill.
“The President observed that Mayweather may have projected himself as having been slightly more aggressive in the early rounds and that this may have influenced the eventual outcome, but that like most spectators, he observed that Mayweather avoided engaging Representative Pacquiao at close quarters,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.