MANILA, Philippines >> Filipinos expressed shock and some wept Sunday after Manny Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Timothy Bradley on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao’s loss by split decision ended his impressive seven-year unbeaten run that turned him into a wealthy sporting superstar and a national hero in impoverished Philippines.
Large numbers of Filipinos booed and yelled “Manny was cheated” after watching the bout on large TVs erected in public parks and gymnasiums throughout the Philippines. Some broke into tears in disbelief.
Government volunteer librarian Gina Tubo says she wept because she’d thought Pacquiao won after landing more punches. She said she felt disoriented because she had become too used to Pacquiao ending triumphant in more than a dozen fights.
“He’s a national and a world hero,” Tubo told The Associated Press by telephone from suburban Marikina city in the Philippine capital, her voice cracking. “He inspires people and entertains them away from their troubles so this is really shocking to all of us.”
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who watched the bout in Las Vegas, hoped Pacquiao would win a rematch. “For me, what happened here in Vegas was highway robbery,” he told Philippine radio network DZBB by telephone.
The Philippine government told Pacquiao his proud country would stand by him in future fights.
The Philippine military showed the bout as a morale-booster to thousands of soldiers. It congratulated Bradley, but praised Pacquiao for his grit, adding “Manny will remain and will always be our champion.”