MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino believes that Manny Pacquiao’s controversial defeat at the hands of American boxer Timothy Bradley gives him "an opportunity to reach even greater heights."
“I believe that Congressman Manny Pacquiao has been given an opportunity to reach even greater heights,” the President said in a text message to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, when asked to give his reaction to Pacquiao’s match with Bradley.
Lacierda said this is a "positive encouragement" from the President for Pacquiao.
Bradley ended Manny Pacquiao’s 15-fight winning streak with a controversial split decision victory over the People's Champ Sunday.
Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao, while C.J. Ross and Duane Ford both saw it 115-113 for Bradley.
Pacquiao fell to 54-4-2 with 38 wins inside the distance, suffering his first defeat since he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005.
Bradley improved to 29-0 with 12 wins inside the distance and seized Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Pacquiao, a world champion in eight weight classes who is reckoned the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, said he thought he had done enough to win.
"Absolutely, yes," he said during a post-bout interview, to cheers from the crowd.
"He’s a strong puncher, he rocked me a couple of times in the fight, but I held my ground and fought to the end," Bradley said.
"This is boxing.
"Every round was pretty close. Pacquiao won some of the early rounds. I controlled the later rounds with my jab.
"I need to go home and review the tape," he added.
Promoter Bob Arum called the decision "unfathomable" and "incomprehensible".
"I want to congratulate Tim Bradley, he’s going to make a lot of money," Arum said. "But I want to say I have never been ashamed as much to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight." With Agence France-Presse