MANILA — Malacañang congratulated boxer-senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao for defending his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title after a unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner at MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas on Sunday (Manila time).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Pacquiao, the only eight-division world boxing champion, scored a unanimous win in the judges’ scorecard — 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.
“The Palace is one with the entire Filipino people in celebrating Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s successful WBA welterweight title defense over American Adrien Broner,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo noted that despite being 11 years older than the 29-year-old Broner, the Filipino boxing icon still managed to beat him “just like in his heyday”.
“While 11 years older than his opponent, the 40-year-old “Pambansang Kamao” displayed his vintage form just like in his heyday and dominated Broner, who went back-pedaling, in full 12 rounds of battle,” Panelo said.
He also thanked Pacquiao for representing the country and making Filipinos proud once again.
“We thank our pound-for-pound king for not only bringing honor and glory to our flag, but for once again uniting all Filipinos worldwide with his display of athleticism, power and Filipino pride. Mabuhay ka, Manny! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” Panelo said.
Aside from Panelo, a Cabinet official and two lawmakers also hailed Pacquiao for proving that age does not define an athlete’s victory.
‘Age is just a number’
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles echoed Panelo, emphasizing that Pacquiao has proven that “age is just a number” and that with hard work, persistence and determination, “no goal is insurmountable.”
“Thank you for continuing to bring pride to the country and for always being an example of the Filipino’s resilience and fighting spirit!” Nograles said.
PBA (Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said “40 is the new 20!”
“Ang Pambansang Kamao, Sen. Manny Pacquiao proved today that age is just a number! Against a 29-year old, Pacman made the Philippines proud and we thank him for that. Si Sen. Manny ang ating Bayaning Atleta (Sen. Manny is our hero athlete),” Nograles said.
The PBA party-list representative said that although Broner was smart to emulate Floyd Mayweather to avoid a knockdown, his strategy was not enough to win.
He also expressed hope that Broner would accept his defeat gracefully because Pacquiao had won fair and square.
In a post-fight interview, Broner claimed he defeated Pacquiao.
Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento described Pacquiao as still having “so much to give to the world of boxing.”
“This is a true Pacman brand of boxing. Despite his age, he has shown so much speed, power and skill to defeat a much younger and much hungrier foe. Obviously, he still has so much to give in the world of boxing and we continue to look forward for these exciting fights, including a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, until he decides to retire,” Sarmiento said.
“Congratulations Senator Pacquiao. You are a true national hero. We are very proud of you!” he added.
Sarmiento also lauded Pacquiao for ensuring that the millions of people who watched his fight with Broner would witness “an unadulterated boxing action from start to finish.”
Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said Pacquiao served as “pride and glory to the Filipino nation” and uniting Filipinos across the globe.
“Ito ang panahon kung saan nagkakaisa talaga ang sambayanang Pilipino. Tumitigil ang mundo para makiisa sa pagkapanalo ng isang taong patuloy na nagbibigay inspirasyon sa ating lahat (This is a time when all Filipinos really unite. The world stops to join the victory of a person who continues to serve as an inspiration to all),” Go said.
Go, meanwhile, urged all Filipinos to continue supporting all Filipino athletes.
“Para sa aking mga kapwa Pilipino, patuloy tayo magkaisa at suportahan natin ang mga atletang Pinoy (To our fellow Filipinos, let us stay united and support of Filipino athletes)!” he added.
For his part, Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said Pacquiao’s “determination both inside and outside of the ring should inspire every Filipino to aim higher not only for one’s interest but also for the interest of others and of the entire nation.”
AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said Pacquiao showed the heart of a true champion in beating his much younger challenger.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Armed Forces, our congratulations and deepest respect to Senator Manny Pacquiao. I hope we can invite him here at GHQ (General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City) to celebrate his victory and give our respect. He has the heart of a true champion, the heart of a Filipino soldier and warrior,” Madrigal said in a message to reporters.
His remarks were also echoed by Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, in a similar message to reporters.
“We, at the Armed Forces of the Philippines are one with the whole nation in celebrating another victory by our Pambansang Kamao, Senator and Reserved Army Colonel Manny Pacquiao against Adrien Broner,” he added.
Detoyato added that in Pacquiao’s latest win, the Filipino boxing icon did not only demonstrate the Filipino’s natural trait of strength and courage, but also “showed the world, how determined, disciplined and hardworking the Filipinos are; just like his comrades in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.” (With reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)