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Boxing | International

Filipinos horrified after KO



Filipinos watched in horror as Manny Pacquiao fell face first to the canvas after being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Cinemas, hotels, public parks and even army bases across the Philippines fell silent as Pacquiao, the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions, lost for the second time this year.

"I'm so shocked. I can't believe it when Manny was ahead on points," barber Pedro Varela said after watching the fight at a cinema in a Manila shopping mall.

"It was a good fight, Manny gave it all. He was impressive, It was one lucky punch from Marquez."

The 39-year-old Marquez, who had lost twice and drawn once in their three previous meetings, sent Pacquiao crashing to the canvas with a stinging right in the sixth round of their non-title welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Filipino southpaw remained motionless for several minutes before finally getting up, smiling at Marquez and then shaking his opponent's hand in middle of the ring.

Social media sites were abuzz after the fight, with fans praising both fighters. There were also outpourings of disbelief that Pacquiao had lost.

The Philippine army said Pacquiao, an elected congressman and a lieutenant-colonel in the reserve force, was still "an icon of perseverance, excellence and dedication not only to the soldiers but to millions of Filipinos".

"Pacquiao did his best but Marquez turned out to be the better boxer," military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said in a statement.

Some Filipinos said Pacquiao might retire after the loss. "I think that's the end of his career," state worker Miguel Manalo said.

Manila's streets were deserted during the fight as Filipinos tuned into see the action. Police authorities have said crime rates drop every time Pacquiao enters the ring.

'NOTHING WILL CHANGE'

SAPA-AFP reports that president Benigno Aquino's spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, said the country would not turn its back on Pacquiao.

"Nothing will change. The people of the Philippines will continue to support Manny. We join them in praying for the return of his strength and determination," Lacierda said in a statement.

Vice-president Jejomar Binay also quickly declared his confidence that Pacquiao would make a comeback. "I’m certain Manny will rise from this adversity a better and stronger person."

Businessman Jun Bayonico, who watched the fight live with friends and relatives, said, “We were all silent because we were unsure what happened. He was unconscious for so long.

"For so many years, he was our idol. We were saddened by what happened but maybe this is a sign he should retire. It would have been better if he retired as a winner."



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