In the sweltering noontime of Manila, crowd reaction was jubilant and tearful when Manny Pacquiao was announced winner of of his Las Vegas rematch with Timothy Bradley, reclaiming the WBO Welterweight title he had lost to his opponent in 2012. As Philippine President Benigno Aquino congratulated his two-term congressman on his victory, the men and women on the street, in theaters, hotel lobbies and seeking shade in parks varied widely in their interpretations of his performance.
On one extreme there were worshipful and timely comparisons with Christ’s resurrection, while others were frankly critical, pointing to the lack of a knockout blow to state that ‘Pac-man’ has lost his killer instinct. The younger crowd seemed eager to party on dreams of his return to superstardom while males of the older generation were more philosophical, applauding Pacquiao’s unflagging tenacity and the win while acknowledging the twilight of his boxing career could be approaching.
There was renewed longing for a final bout with WBC Welterweight and Super Welterweight Champion and WBA Super-Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., something that many experts say will not happen as Mayweather’s camp has too much to lose.
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Twitter reaction included many basketball players, such as Brooklyn Nets veteran Paul Pierce, who knows toughness, and champions when he sees them: “Gobble Gobble PAC -man is back,” and L.A. Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who criticized Bradley for a perceived attempt to con the judges: “Did Bradley throw up his hands to try and trick the judges again?”
One thing was fully agreed by all — that Pacquiao is a hero to his countrymen, and will be greeted as such upon his return.
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