Friday, March 25, 2005

Hero's welcome awaits Pacquiao

Malaya Newspaper: "DESPITE his heart-breaking defeat to Eric Morales last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao will be given a hero's welcome when he returns before the end of the month.

"Para sa atin, itinuturing natin si Manny bilang ating kampiyon. Hindi naman nakakahiya iyong ginawa ni Manny. Ipinakita niya, ibinuhos niya iyong kanyang dapat gawin and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Dapat ay bigyan natin siya ng warm welcome pagbalik niya," Press Secretary and presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said of Pacquiao, who is expected to return home on March 26.

"The President considers Manny Pacquiao an authentic Filipino sports hero. The Palace will always be open to Manny Pacquiao. We're prepared to accept him at his convenience," he said.

Also expected to give Pacquiao a warm welcome are the City of Manila which has made him an adopted son and his provincemates in Gen. Santos City.

A victim of a head butt in the fifth round, Pacquiao dropped a unanimous decision to Morales in a thrilling 12-round fight before more than 14,000 fans at the MGM Grand. All three judges saw Morales the winner by 115-113 counts.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, may continue to fight in the super-featherweight division despite losing his first fight in the 130-pound class.

"I like this weight and I'm going to stay at this weight," Fightnews website quoted Pacquiao as saying during the post-fight press conference.

A member of the Pacquiao camp added that Pacquiao, who practically fought with one eye from the sixth to the 12th rounds, would love to have a rematch.

When asked what would have happened if he had been allowed to wear his usual Reyes gloves, Pacquiao said: "I think I would have ended the fight."

Bunye said Pacquiao exhibited the Filipino fighting spirit and showed a good example by doing his best despite the odds. "We are honored. Ipinagmamalaki natin na mayroon tayong kababayan katulad ni Manny Pacquiao," he said.

He said the respect of Filipinos towards Pacquiao has not diminished, adding weaker boxers would have given up if left with just one eye.

"He showed the heart of a warrior," he said.

He said even the great boxers suffered losses, with the exception of Rocky Marciano.

"But we believe Manny will bounce back from his defeat and will go on to greater heights," he said.

Frank Gonzalez Jr. of eastsideboxing.com, meanwhile, has picked the Morales-Pacquiao fight as a candidate for "Fight of the Year" honors. He said the battle was a contrast of styles that again proved that superior boxing skills can overcome a great power punching. And Morales had one indispensable quality-a chin of iron.

Once Morales showed he could take Pacman's punch, Manny didn't seem like the man with the power. Morales' accuracy, ranginess and chin were too much for Manny to conquer, according to Gonzales."

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