GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Like most fans of boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, his mother, Dionisia believes her son was robbed of victory.
“I’m going to watch the replay. I failed to see it live because I was in deep prayer. But I was informed by my daughter, Liza, and also by my friends that my son was robbed of the victory,” Dionisia said.
In May 2011, Dionisia had asked her son, aside from an Hermès bag as birthday gift, to retire from boxing after his fight with American Shane Mosley.
She got her bag, but Manny continued fighting.
This time, however, Dionisia joined calls for a rematch. She also said she would join her son during a rematch with Bradley.
“Payag akong mag-rematch sila. Kahit di muna mag-retire sa boxing ang anak ko para maiganti niya ang pagkatalo niya. Dinaya lang naman siya eh (I agree to a rematch…even if my son holds off retiring so he can avenge his loss. Anyway, he was cheated),” Dionisia said.
Should there be a rematch, Dionosia said she would travel with her son to the US to watch the fight live.
Dionisia also denied reports that she lost consciousness upon learning of her son’s defeat.
“The truth is, it’s so hot inside the prayer room. I had difficulty breathing because the prayer room was small and it was so hot inside,” Dionisia during a hastily called press conference.
Pacquiao fans from all walks of life were saddened and disappointed following his split-decision loss to Bradley.
The crowd inside the jam-packed Lagao gymnasium in General Santos City roared in disbelief when Michael Buffer announced the result of Pacquiao-Bradley fight.
They said that throughout the fight, their hometown ring idol was never hurt.
Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio remained seated on the bench and declined to grant interviews until after Pacquiao’s television interview was over.
“I was shocked. Almost everybody here was shocked by the result. You have seen the reaction of the crowd and they were not satisfied with the decision of the judges,” Custodio said.
Custodio vowed to give the Pacquiao the usual hero’s welcome despite the defeat.
“Definitely, there will be a hero’s welcome for him. Deep in our hearts, he is still our champion,” Custodio said.
In Tagum City, from soldiers pursuing communist rebels in Compostela Valley to drivers who did not ply their routes to watch Pacquiao fight in a widescreen set up by the provincial government said the Filipino fighter and congressman should be given a rematch.
“The troops were OK but somehow disappointed (that Pacquiao lost),” said Captain Jan Sanggacala, information officer of the 71st Infantry Battalion based in Maco, Compostela Valley. “They doubted the judges’ decision.”
Rene Catubig, a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver in Tagum, said Pacquiao was landing the more telling blows and should have won the judges’ nods.
Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy agreed, saying a rematch should be set the soonest. “I think Pacquiao won,” he said in a text message.
Bystanders and onlookers standing by the fence of the Zamboanga City Puericulture Center, where the fight was shown live on a wide screen, hit the concrete fence when Bradley was declared winner. Some of them shouted “luto ang laban (the fight was rigged),” and demanded a rematch.
Army soldiers in Basilan also took their time off to watch the fight.
Colonel Arthur Ang, commander of the Basilan-based 104th Brigade, said his men were disappointed by the decision.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat said he was also surprised by the judges’ decision, “but I am still looking forward to a rematch.”
In Cotabato City, Fr. Jonathan Domingo of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate said Pacquiao’s defeat would serve as a “wake up call” for him to make it next time around.
“He’s used to winning…he won in his last 15 bouts, now he lost. Next time he can make it better,” Domingo said.
“The result may be controversial yet Pacquiao did not even raise a howl even if he was convinced he won the fight. He wholeheartedly accepts the verdict, a Filipino trait and truly a sportsman,” the priest added.
In Koronadal City, the crowd at the pay-per-view screening at the city hall, booed in unison when the decision was announced.
Chris Mondana, a resident, said the promoter Bob Arum might have sold the game to ensure a rematch. “That’s the quickest analysis you could come up with. Boxing is a not a sport anymore, it’s business, generating billions for promoters,” Mondana said.
(Aquiles Z. Zonio, Frinston Lim, Julie S. Alipala, Edwin O. Fernandez, Rosa May de Guzman-Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao)