MANILA - Win or lose, Filipinos gave boxing icon Manny Pacquiao a rousing hero’s welcome upon his arrival here Wednesday morning from the United States where he suffered a devastating knockout loss in the hands of archrival Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last Sunday (Phil. time).
In a brief speech shortly after he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a humbled Pacquiao said he did not know what hit him as he went down flat on his face and lay on the canvas for several seconds without moving.
The people’s champ did not make any excuses but vowed “we’ll rise again” as the crowd that included politicians cheered.
Pacquiao arrived with his wife Jinkee aboard a Philippine Airlines flight shortly after 6 a.m. from Los Angeles.
The Filipinos have always extended a hero’s welcome for Pacquiao every time he returned home after a successful fight in the United States.
This time, even in defeat, the same fervor was given to Pacquiao who has given the Philippines a name in the world of boxing.
The 33-year old boxer said he did his best against Marquez but he lost via a 6th round knockout in a scheduled 12 rounder at the MGM Grand Arena.
Pacquiao thanked his avid fans for their wholehearted support in his fight with Marquez.
"Nais kong pasalamatan ang pinakitang suporta ng ating mga kababayang Pilipino doon sa nakaraang laban ko. Ginawa natin lahat ng ating makakaya, hindi naman tayo nabugbog. Lamang tayo pero talagang ganoon ang boxing may disgrasya talaga," Pacquiao said in Pilipino.
Pacquiao also said he became emotional during a television interview in the United States after his defeat when he learned that many Filipino fans wept when he was stopped by Marquez.
He was also saddened to see his family in agony on his defeat.
Pacquiao also revealed that his children were greatly affected when he lost the fight to Marquez.
He said his children did not cry when they were interviewed about his defeat but they went inside their room where they wept.
Pacquiao was earlier quoted by the US media that he will be back in the ring soon and retirement is still far off.
Pacquiao will turn 34 on Dec. 17.
Among his well-wishers at the airport were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Ilocos Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, among many others.*PNA
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