Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao vowed to “rise again” as he flew home yesterday after a brutal knockout defeat that prompted some fans and experts to urge him to retire.
“Don’t worry, we will rise again,” he told well-wishers as he arrived in Manila from the US, where he suffered his second consecutive loss with a sixth-round knockout by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday.
Pacquiao, who has 54 wins, five defeats and two draws in nearly 18 years in the ring, had lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown in June on a controversial points decision to unbeaten US fighter Timothy Bradley, but retirement appeared far from the mind of Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Monday and was once regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
“I watched a replay of my fight and I am satisfied with my movement,” Pacquiao said.
“I was fighting very well from the first to the sixth round. I was moving well. It was just that I got hit with a lucky punch on the last second of the round,” he said.
Pacquiao, who yesterday also announced he was donating 10 million pesos (US$244,000) to the victims of a typhoon which devastated the south of the Philippines last week, said he had been looking to finish off Marquez by the eighth round.
“The way the fight was going, there was no way it would have reached the 12th round,” he said.
He cited how he had broken the Mexican’s nose, leaving him with breathing difficulties that Pacquiao claimed had forced his foe to remove his mouthpiece at one point, but Pacquiao acknowledged: “He [Marquez] owned that night. Let’s give him due credit.”
Former world champion Ricky Hatton, who was knocked out by Pacquiao in May 2009, has added his voice to calls for the Filipino to hang up his gloves.
“The only advice I could give Manny Pacquiao is that his legacy is already secured,” said the Briton, a former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion who retired for a second time last month.
“The thing is with us fighters is that there is always one more fight,” the 34-year-old said during a visit to Hong Kong. “What’s he [Pacquiao] going to achieve by having one more fight? Probably nothing. He’s an eight-weight world champion. There’s nothing more to be said.”
Hatton, who was knocked out in a failed return to the ring in November, in what he says was his last fight, said of his Filipino rival: “You’d like to see him go into retirement, and spend some time with his family and be happy. He can’t do any more from a boxing point of view.”