President Rodrigo RoaDuterte sits beside the celebrant Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao during the latter’s 38th birthday celebration at the KCC Mall Events Convention Center, General Santos City on December 17, 2016. (Karl Alonzo/Presidential Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Filipino boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao may have lost his bout against Australian boxer Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia, but his fans said he still remains the People’s Champ.

In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said “Pacquiao’s loss in Brisbane would not diminish the honors he bestowed to the people and to the flag.”

“Nothing will change: Senator Manny Pacquaio will remain our People’s Champ, Pambansang Kamao, and National Treasure in Global Sports. Mabuhay ka, Manny!” Abella added.

Thousands of his Filipino fans in Davao City trooped to Bankerohan Gym on Sunday noon for a free viewing.

Some expressed dismay on what was reported as a “controversial decision” of the judges.

Fans of the boxing icon said it should have been Pacquiao who won, but the judges’ scorecards show otherwise.

Judge Waleska Roldan’s scorecard showed 117-111, and judges Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan both scored them 115-113, all in favor of Horn.

In Marawi City, where the fighting between the government and ISIS-inspired militants continue, some evacuees and government officials also watched the fight between Pacquiao and Horn at a public viewing inside the provincial capitol.

Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Crisis Committee said “Pacquiao is an epitome of courage, resiliency and hope – characteristics that made him an international icon and world renowned athlete.”

“His defeat today doesn’t change that representation, albeit, by facing an opponent far younger than him and equally skilled in the ring, he was able to deliver not only punches but hope and inspiration to the victims of Marawi Siege at this time of great pain and destruction, it is how we rise up to the occasion that make us who we are,” Alonto said.

Alonto added that Pacquiao’s loss “doesn’t define him as a fighter, similarly, this current crisis doesn’t define us as a people.” (

comments powered by Disqus