Manny Pacquiao crafted a masterful near shutout win over an outmatched Brandon Rios in Macau and in so doing brought a ray of sunshine to his fellow Filipinos at a time when they most need it. While Pacquiao fell just short of the goal that he and trainer Freddie Roach had set of a knockout victory, Pacquiao was dominant from start to finish, winning all twelve rounds on one judge’s card, eleven on a second card, and ten on the third card.
In the Philippines, the government and cable operators set up free viewing at multiple locations in the typhoon ravaged city of Tacloban, Leyte, as well as at other venues.
“Manny looked great out there,” said Roach after the fight. “He did exactly what he wanted to do. He didn’t rush things. Of course, I would’ve liked a knockout and that’s why on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate his performance 9.9. A knockout would’ve made it a 10. But that’s fine. Rios didn’t show anything we didn’t expect.”
Pacquiao quotes after the fight:
- “This is still my time. My time isn’t over. I think I proved it today.”
- “God guided me to give more excitement to the fans. He answered my prayer to rise again.”
- “Rios isn’t an easy opponent. It was one of my toughest fights ever.”
- “Boxing is not (about) killing each other.It’s entertainment.”
Meanwhile, in Tacloban City, thousands watched in various venues:
TACLOBAN CITY—Thousands of survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” erupted into wild cheers on Sunday to celebrate Manny Pacquiao’s victory, giving them a brief respite from the enormous destruction the storm had brought to their country.
“It felt like I got my house back,” said street sweeper Ardel Nebasa, who lost his home in the storm surges that ravaged Tacloban City on Nov. 8.
Officials hoped that watching Pacquiao’s triumph against Brandon Rios in Macau would help traumatized survivors take their minds off the devastation wrought by Yolanda (international name: “Haiyan”) and inspire them to pick up the pieces from the calamity that killed more than 5,200 people.
“I was so happy and I wanted to cry, but there were too many people,” said Nebasa, who watched the match with his son and thousands of others on a television screen set up in a public plaza in Tacloban.
“It would have felt like another storm has hit if he lost,” he added.
Rogelio Talisayon, 28, said Pacquiao’s win somehow “lifted the burden” he and his family suffered in Yolanda’s wake.
“I am happy that Pacquiao won his battle. Somehow, I forgot the miseries brought by Yolanda to our family,” Talisayon said.
Talisayon, his wife and 3 children were among more than 1,000 survivors who watched the fight at Tacloban Astrodome, one of the few structures left standing after Yolanda slammed through the city.
The Astrodome, now a refuge for survivors, lost part of its ceiling during the typhoon.
(We’ll have more on the fight later . . . meanwhile Congratulations to Manny Pacquiao and the Philippines. )