CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) — Fans at the gym in Baragay Nazareth here waited for the killer punch from boxing icon Manny Pacquiao to floor Timothy Bradley but it did not come.
Instead Bradley sailed through 12 rounds but this time, the judges did not favor him, handing the unanimous decision and the WBO Welterweight title to Pacquiao, who is also the lone congressional representative of Sarangani province.
The fans broke into wild cheers as Pacquiao came out with his pre-fight promise that he would be more aggressive against Bradley who won their match on June 9, 2012.
“Pacquiao changed a lot. He has become a better boxer,” Barangay Lapasan Chair Omar Labuntog said as he watched the boxing fight from the sidelines.
Labuntog said the fight left no doubt that Pacquiao is a better boxer than Bradley.
In General Santos City, Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, said she hopes her husband will now retire from boxing.
In an interview aired on ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel), a teary-eyed, pregnant Jinkee, Sarangani’s vice governor, told reporters after the fight that her husband has nothing more to prove in his boxing career and he hopes he retires now. Jinkee is about to give birth to their fifth child.
Councilor Jesse Salcedo of Barangay 23 said Pacquiao came out a better fighter despite his controversial loss against Bradley in their last fight,” Salcedo said.
“The betting odds will surely return to Pacquiao in his next fight,” Salcedo said.
Dodong del Rosario, a resident of Barangay Nazareth said they are eager to see Pacquiao fight undefeated five-division champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., in the future.
A Pacquiao fight has remained a major crowd drawer here in Cagayan de Oro, prompting barangay officials to install big pay-per-view TV sets for fight fans to see free of charge.
Barangay officials set up eight TV sets and a huge screen inside the basketball area of the village gym.
Not to be outdone, Barangay Lapasan officials installed a huge plasma TV screen at their basketball for their residents to watch.
For the well-heeled boxing fans, hotels and restaurants offered viewing for a fee.
Betting favored Pacquiao with P2,000 to P5,000 bets before the fight but there were no takers—proof that the General Santos boxing icon still has the hearts of his fans.
In Surigao City, Jamil Anonuevo, a graphic artist, said he thought Bradley won the fight.
“Bradley was really tough, he landed more punches on Pacquiao’s body and a right solid hook landed on Pacquiao’s head on the fourth round that rocked him,” Anonuevo said.
For the 77-year-old year old poet Arcadio Jumamoy, Pacquiao was not the same fighter he used to watch.
“I loved watching the old Pacquiao knock down every opponent on the canvas. It seems he has lost his prowess,” Jumamoy said.
Christopher Bustamante, a printing machine operator said Pacquiao did not convincingly win the fight even as the judges gave him a unanimous decision.
“Bradley was tough but I’m happy that Pacquaio won the fight,” Bustamante said.
Bonnie Binayon, a radio reporter, said, “Pacquiao is getting old. He was not the same fighter.” (Jaime A. Frias II, Froilan Gallardo and Roel Catoto / MindaNews)