Eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has returned to the Philippines Wednesday morning after his devastating loss to Mexican boxing idol Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Facing the local media upon his arrival at the airport, Pacquiao thanked his fans and the public for offering prayers and support for his safety after he was rushed to a hospital in Nevada for possible brain damage following his stunning knockout by Marquez in the final seconds of the sixth round.
Pacquiao admitted he became a bit emotional in one of the earlier interviews by a local television network because he learned that many of his countrymen wept upon seeing him almost lifeless with his face facing down on the canvas a few seconds before the end of the sixth round.
“The low morale, the sadness, I accept that. This is my job … But the reaction of the Filipinos, the many who cried, especially my family, it really hurts me,” he told GMA News.
During the interview at the airport arrival lounge, Pacquiao assured the public he is alright and there is nothing to worry as doctors who examined him found no damage to his brain.
His lovely wife Jinkee said her husband will still undergo a series of tests in a local hospital to be sure that he is indeed free of any damage to his health.
In his arrival statement, Pacquiao said he is returning to the ring possibly in April next year against any opponent to be named by his promoter Bob Arum, who did not object to a proposal for a possible fifth encounter with the Mexican counter-puncher.
Some of members of Pacquiao's family including a number of close friends urged the fighting congressman to retire now while he is still in top shape.
Evidently, Pacquiao isn't ready to retire at this time. He told his well-wishers not to worry because in any competition, "sometimes you win, sometimes you lose" and that is the way it is in the sport.
“Don’t worry, we will rise again,” Pacquiao, who is celebrating his 34th birthday on December 17, told his fans and reporters gathered at the airport. "I will fight again," he said. The fight is not yet over,” I will not retire yet," he added.
Meanwhile, two of Pacquiao's closest friends and advisers said, the Filioino ring icon should take a rest for at least six months before taking on another major fight.
Boxing promoters Rex (Wakee) Salud and Aljoe Jaro, who were Pacquiao on the same flight to Manila said, "retirement is far from his mind, he’ll continue to fight, but he needs time to recover.”
“It was a shocking loss,” said Salud, a long-time Pacquiao confidante who has access to accompany the fighter inside the ring whenever he fights before the first bell and after the last, Philstar.com writes.
“I don’t think it’s advisable for Manny to fight on April 20 as scheduled by (Bob) Arum. He should take a long rest, at least six months, and stay away from boxing. A lucky punch did it so it’s not like Manny was badly battered. Manny was going for a knockout when Marquez landed.
While many of Marquez' fans are celebrating Pacquiao's loss to their boxing idol, Pacquiao's potential foe Floyd Mayweather has shown compassion to the Filipino ring star, saying he wishes Pacquiao nothing but the best.
"Marquez is a true champion. Manny Pacquiao is a true champion. Both of them went out there and put on a good performance, and that's a good thing for the sport of boxing," Mayweather said. "I wish Pacquiao nothing but the best. I wish he can bounce back and he can recoup from this….
You have to really, really dedicate yourself to your craft. I think he's got so many different things on the outside that he worries about, you know. But it was a good thing that he was able to come into the sport, you know, piggyback off my name, and get a bunch of endorsement deals and make a good living.", Read more: